Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Chandrayaan 2 in July 2019 with which India has taken a huge leap in the aerospace sector. Chandrayaan-2 will target a completely unexplored section of the Moon that is, its “South Polar region – Aitken Basin”. And now, scientists in France are trying to create a ‘miniature Sun’ on Earth and India is a partner in this mega project.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of this mega project on his recently concluded trip to France. India, by contributing to about ten per cent of the cost, gets access to one hundred per cent of technology. This is the most expensive mega-science effort India is participating in and globally ITER is the most expensive science project on Earth ever to be undertaken in the 21st century. The total weight of the ITER reactor will be about 28,000 tonnes.

During his visit to France, PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron reviewed the ITER project and commended the joint partnership in International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactors (ITER).

Dr Tim Luce, Chief Scientist at ITER called India “a valuable partner” and said it made key components like the cryostat, which is perhaps one of the biggest thermos bottles in the world. On being asked how much carbon dioxide the main culprit for global warming would be released from the ITER project Dr Luce quips “only the carbon dioxide the scientists exhale”. The radioactive substances generated from reactions would be the sort that can die off in a hundred years.

The project is a herculean effort and operations are expected to start by 2025. Later a full scale electricity generating unit called the DEMO reactor is scheduled to be completed by 2040.

The two leaders held “more than 90-minute long one-on-one meeting reviewing the entire gamut of our dynamic & multifaceted relationship,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

“Our strategic partnership is a very important pillar of our foreign policy,” he added.

In his departure statement, the prime minister said his visit to France reflects the strong strategic partnership which the two countries deeply value and share.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said that India and Pakistan should resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally and that no third party should interfere or incite violence thereafter Prime Minister Narendra Modi explained to him about the changes brought about in Kashmir and that it is part of India’s sovereignty.