First Islamic country to launch Mars mission

Another country has been named in the list of countries sending its spaceship to Mars. And the name of this country is the UAE. This country with a population of 9 million has taken an important step and launched its first mission Mars. This mission is not only the first of this country, but it is also the first time that a Muslim nation has launched a Mars mission. The name of this mission is ‘Hope’, whose Arabic name is ‘Al Amal’ and it was launched on 19 July 2020. Under this mission, the UAE has sent its orbiter to Mars which will revolve around Mars and check its atmosphere. The launch of this spacecraft was cancelled twice, firstly on 14 July 2020 and then on 16 July 2020 due to bad weather.

Goal of the Mission

The UAE is primarily promoting it as an Arab space mission. They say that in addition to the UAE, a large Arab population is inhabited in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and a lot of Arabic people inhabiting in Africa as well, so through this mission they wants to encourage their youth that in the field of science and technologies they can also move forward and contribute and that is why this mission is named ‘Hope’ or ‘Al-Amal’. If this mission is successful, then it will be the first Inter Planetary Mission of the Arab country in West Asia and that is why much enthusiasm is being seen and appreciated in all the Muslim nations. In countries like UAE where the literacy rate is very good, there is a lot of curiosity about this mission among the people.

   If we look at the history of Mars mission, so far there are only 4 such countries which have succeeded and that is Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, America’s NASA, European Space Agency and the fourth is India’s ISRO. Now after the fourth, there is a collision for the fifth position, which country will be the fifth which will reach Mars. Because China has also launched its mission on 23 July 2020. 

Features and Tasks

   The Emirates’s spacecraft is sent by an H 2A rocket from Japanese private company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and it has been launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan. The total cost of this mission is around 200 million US dollar, the spacecraft will reach in February 2021. In 2021 itself, the UAE will complete 50 years of its formation. Hope weighs around 1500 kg and is equipped with several scientific instruments such as’ exploration imager (high resolution camera), ultraviolet spectrometer (UV spectrograph), Mars infrared spectrometer and FTIR scanning spectrometer. 

The important tasks of the Hop are as follows:

1) The spacecraft will orbit Mars to study the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and solar winds coming from sun

2) Hope will collect data on Martian climate dynamics which should help scientists understand why Mars’ atmosphere is decaying into space.

3) Giving them clues about why the atmosphere changed, to search for a connection between current weather on Mars and the one that existed. 

 This probe has to cover a distance of about 500 (493.5) million kilometers to reach Mars, which will take 7 months. The UAE has taken the help of the United States to make this probe. America’s University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, and University of California all together have created its orbiter. Apart from this, the Indian space agency ISRO is also helping UAE. In 2014 ISRO and UAE Space Agency signed MoU under which India has guided UAE for its launch in 2019, because like Mangalyaan the Hope orbiter first will increase its speed by orbiting the Earth and then will go out of the gravity of Earth and move towards Mars. 

  So it is a time of great pride for the UAE as it is appreciated worldwide. NASA’s Perseverance Rover and Curiosity Rover have sent messages to welcome Hope and congratulate her on her contribution. Apart from this, UAE has promoted very well so that people take interest in the field of science and technologies. This will build healthy competition in Asia and will also promote science and technologies.

Today we will talk about how China is becoming a threat to water security. How many such rivers on which China has built a dam is becoming a big threat to South Asia and South East Asia. 

Tibetan Plateau

So before starting, let us understand its geography a little, the Tibetan plateau is considered to be the largest and the highest plateau. 46% of the world’s population depend upon water obtained from the rivers originated in Tibet. So we can assume that almost half of the world population depends on the rivers originating from Tibet. In this Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, this is one of the main rivers which is called trans-boundary rivers. Trans-boundary rivers are the rivers that enter from one country border to another country. For example, the Brahmaputra is a river that originates from Tibet and passes through India to Bangladesh. 

China occupied Tibet in 1951 and named his occupation that “ we are basically doing a Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”. But in the last few decades China has built thousands of dams on all the rivers originating from Tibetan plateaus. According to some journals China has built 50000 dams and some claim to have 60000 dams but according to the latest journal China has built more than 87000 dams so far and consist more than half of the total dams of the world. Of these 87000 dams, more than 50% of the dam is inside China. Well, it is difficult to estimate the total number of these dams accurately because we all know that China does not allow any news to leak out of the country. But against the international norms, China has unilaterally constructed dams on trans boundary rivers. Because under international norms it is mandatory to take permission of neighboring countries and share information before constructing such dams. But China has not done anything like this and Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween and Mekong did not leave any of these rivers

The stagnation of water in large reservoirs of these dams has resulted in drought-like conditions in lower and coastal countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Mekong River Flows

Mekong River 

If we talk about the Mekong River, it originates from Tibet and flows into China, entering India, after touching Myanmar passes through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia. About 70 lac people are on this river. 

As per 13th April 2020 Bangkok Post Article in the year 2019-20, China stopped the flow of large amount of water from the dam of the Mekong River due to which there was a famine in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, at the same time it was also said that the water dam from the water-logging the level was above the average.

Dams over Brahmaputra River(Yatlung Zangbo River)

Brahmaputra River

Now we talk about Brahmaputra River. This river is known as Yarlung Zangbo or Yarlung Tsangpo in China. It also originates in Tibetan autonomous region and enters into India by making steep gorges Himalayan mountains. It enters into Bangladesh after flowing through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India. But in order to establish its control in its flow China has built four main dams here called Dagu, Jaicha, Jiaxu and Zhang mu. India and Bangladesh strongly opposed it, but China had no effect on it.  

China Weaponizing Water

You will remember the 2016 Doklam Standoff, which happened between India and China, in which the Indian Army stood for 2 months 1 week and 5 days with arms on the Sikkim border in protest against China’s border road construction. With the disappointment of that defeat China refused to share the hydro-logical document and cleared his intention that they were going to use the water as weapon.  

 The hydro-logical document contains all the information related to the dam such as how much water can be deposited and how much damage will happen to the areas if water is released suddenly. Lack of this information can cause loss of life and property, many crops can be ruined. Assam has many coastal areas in which people live and whose livelihood depends on this river. 

Ecological effects

 Well, we have seen how the construction of such a dam will have a direct impact on people’s livelihood. Now let’s discuss the effect it has on the environment. 

  1. Due to the rapid construction of the dam, a big change has been observed in the atmosphere and due to this the plateau temperature has increased 3 times than the global temperature.
  2. Because of this plateau warming, Glacier recession especially in eastern Himalaya and thawing of Tibet’s Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) has been accelerated .
  3. According to the recently written article, due to the rapid melting of these glaciers and permafrost, some ancient viruses could be unlocked which were locked in for many centuries.There may also be some viruses about which human knowledge has not yet been known.

   The Siyang River

Siyang River, which is the main tributary of the Brahmaputra River flows 1600 km and joins Arunachal Pradesh via southern Tibet. The river Siyang, which is considered the lifeline of northern Arunachal Pradesh, used to be crystal clear now due to the construction activity mud can be seen. After 2017 the river has turned into a dark black color .

Muddy Siyang Water

So we saw that it has an impact not only on social and economic but also on the environment. Due to the large scale construction of such dams the heavy slag flows and this effects the biodiversity of the water.

   So these are some of the things that we have understood with examples and about which everyone needs to know. Many countries are now considering it as a big problem. China’s dam rush in the Tibet region is causing long term ecological degradation and it has also started a new water race in Asia.

   And at the end, I would say that in such a situation the world community should come forward and unite for it and make such an agreement which will be binding on all the countries. The domination of China over the availability of water should be controlled and the water security of the downstream countries can be secured.

“China has claimed some part of Russian territory” yes, this was the hot topic in recent days. If it is correct than ‘who has made these claims, why is it claimed, what is the reason behind these claims and what is the historical background, lets find out.

In the last few days, we saw the news in some newspapers that China has claimed some areas of Russia. But in this news, there are many such things which need to be known and hence it is also important to understand it with better sources. It is not that the things said in the newspapers are wrong, but they are not so straightforward.

Geographical location

Let’s first see the geographical condition with the help of a map. According to the first map the far eastern region of Russia is located one of its most important states called, ‘Primorsky Krai’. The capital of this state is ‘Vladivostok’. Vladivostok means ‘King of the East’. The city was founded on 2 July 1860. The population of this city is around 6 million. It is a developed city with a vibrant culture. The biggest importance of this city is that it gives direct access to Russia to reach the Pacific Ocean. Almost all the trade of east Russia depends on this port, for the last 150 years Russia has been trading on this port. This city shares a border with china and North Korea and that’s why this city is equally important from a strategic point of view. The Russian fleet is also located here, rather it is the home base of the entire Russian Marine Fleet. 

You may be wondering why Russia’s maritime trade is dependent only on the city of Vladivostok, despite such a large coastal area in Primorsky Krai. Actually the population of the state is very small. Most of its area is surrounded by dense forests. In the winter season, these areas are completely frozen. Not only the Primorsky Krai but also the coastline of Khabarovsk also freezes up. Sometimes the port of Vladivostok city also freezes, but still It is possible to trade most part of the year.

The truth of China’s claim over Vladivostok   

 Recently, on the occasion of the foundation day anniversary of the city, the official twitter handle of Russia has tweeted and given a message that 160 years have been completed and a video was also sent along with the message which has some drone shots of the city of Vladivostok. A similar message was also given by the Russian embassy of India and China. In China, the use of twitter is banned, instead there is a trend of a web site named ‘Sina Weibo’. And through this site, the same message was given in Chinese language.

But many people in China objected to this message of the Russian Embassy. The objection was raised not only by the common people but also the big officials and diplomats based in the government. One of China’s most senior journalists of ‘CGTN channel’ who is also a producer of the channel ‘Shen Shiwei’, ‘ tweeted this in response and said that “we don’t welcome it at all because historically The city of Vladivostok has been part of China. And the historical name of this city is ‘Haishenwai‘ and due to an unequal treaty, this city was taken away from us.” By such tweets Russia is embarrassing China. CGTN is a government news channel that operates at the behest of the government. That means without an official consent no news can be shown because there is absolutely no freedom to speak against the government in China.

Now it is to be noted here that China has claimed that the city of Vladivostok is a part of China. As the CGTN is an official news channel and China cannot say it directly, therefore it has resorted to the news channel. And the same message was also given by all the chinese diplomats across the world. Several senior government officials also tweeted, but China did not say anything directly.

When this matter started catching up with such messages by evening, ‘Shane Shiwei’ tweeted that the Indian media is distorting it unnecessarily. We have not made any claim that ‘Vladivostok is part of us or we want that back’. We have only said that we have some embarrassing memories that this city was taken away from us.

Qing Dynasty

Background of chinese claims 

   Now let’s understand what is the history behind snatching this city. In fact, the Primorsky Krai kingdom was under the ‘Qing Dynasty’. The Qing Empire was established in 1636. The Qing kingdom was mainly from Manchuria, which is why the people here are also called ‘Manchus’. On 1644, Manchus took possession of China. When China was going through its worst phase, which we also know as China’s Century of Humiliation, the Second Opium War broke out between 1856 – 1860, in which France and the UK together defeated China badly. This battle was mainly fought on the southern coast of China and at the same time the Czar of Russia sent his army across the border of Manchuria and also threatened to fight either on both sides or Hand over the area of outer Manchuria. Till that time, the Qing Empire was so weak that it agreed to sign the ‘Treaty of Peking‘ with Russia. In this way, the land of 6 lac square kilometres came under Russian occupation without any war.

New Russian Border

 According to the above map, the pink border line between Russia and China is the old border line of Russia and the black border line is the current boundary line which has become after occupying 6 lac square kilometres of land. So, where China is claiming to be the Haishenwai , Russia have established Vladivostok on the same place. Earlier there used to be a small village of fishermen, later Russia developed it. Even at that time the population of the long coastal area was very less. Russia has got a treasure like because Russia has discovered so many minerals like boron, gold, silver, tungsten, lead, zinc, tin, coal mines and many other minerals which have been found here. Obviously China must be jealous of all this and besides this there is a historical and emotional reason.

There was another fight between the army of China and Russia on the border issue. After this, the two had settled the boundary dispute and in 2008, they also signed the treaty. But during all the negotiation there has never been any dispute about Vladivostok and no claims have been made on it. Yes, there was definitely some dispute over some of the islands of the Ussuri river flowing between the border of the two countries but there was no direct or indirect dispute over the city of Vladivostok.

Facts and Reason Behind the Action

 So of course it was under China before 1860 but it is also true that the population in this entire 6 lac square kilometre was not much, it has been settled by Russia. Most of its area was surrounded by dense forests. Even today, the population of the entire Primorsky Kry is not even 20 lac, out of which the population of 6 lac is only in Vladivostok. In 1969.

   So China has never officially made any claim to the city of Vladivostok, it is just a maneuver to pressurize Russia. Now that the border dispute of both countries has been resolved, then why the spark that suddenly claims this? Actually, this is because Russia is helping India militarily. Russia appears to be helping India amid the border dispute between India and China. As Russia will never want China to become so powerful in the future that it cannot control it. Russia has seen the aggression of China in the Sino-Soviet war, where China was about to use the nuclear weapons against Russia. So Russia’s long-term thinking will be to help India and maintain a balance between India and China, because Russia does not face any danger from India because India and Russia do not share boundaries from anywhere. But with China it has a 4200 kilometres less long border and if there is any dispute over the border in future, then the matter can reach war directly.

    So China has definitely tried to provoke a kind of spark in response to Russia.