No sooner had the Chandraayan-3 lander module begun its final descent to the moon, the giant screen at the mission control centre in Bangalore split, making equal space for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Waving an India flag, a beaming Modi joined in virtually from Johannesburg, where he is attending the BRICS Summit, and made some of the first comments on the success of the moon mission. The Prime Minister tapped into the lunar mission to boost his slogan of a “New India” under his leadership, saying the historic moment had sounded the bugle for a “developed India”. Soon, his partymen hailed him as “the captain of the mission”.
“India is now on the moon and now is the time to walk on the Chandrapath…. We are witness to the new flight of a New India. New history has been written,” Modi said, addressing Isro scientists.
Modi also sought to milk the success to further his slogan of India as a “Vishwaguru” (world leader). After beginning in Hindi, he switched to English to “address the people of the world”.
“I would like to address the people of the world…. India’s successful moon mission is not India’s alone... this success belongs to all of humanity,” he said, underlining India’s presidency of G20 and the slogan of “one earth, one family, one future”.
Modi stressed that India was the first country to land on the south pole of the moon and talked about going beyond — on missions to explore the Sun and planets of the solar system.
The Prime Minister sought to reach out to the people by saying that Chandrayan-3’s triumph mirrored the “aspirations and capabilities of 140 crore Indians”.
Modi recalled popular sayings about the moon being referred to as “chanda mama” and a faraway object and added that with the success of the lunar mission, “we can now aspire for travelling to the moon”.
“Chanda mama bas ek tour ke,” he said, playing on a popular Hindi saying by replacing “dur” with “tour” and signifying that the moon was now within touching distance.
While Modi sought to sound statesman-like and give credit for the success of the mission to “all of humanity” and the hardworking Indian scientists, his ministers and party leaders rushed to hail his leadership and vision.
“The landmark achievement is not only a testament to the power of Indian genius but it also launches India’s voyage through Amrit Kaal to emerge as a global leader in the realm of space, as envisioned by PM @narendramodi Ji,” home minister Amit Shah posted on X while also expressing his gratitude to Isro scientists.
Shah, appearing aware of the severe job crisis in the country, went on to predict a “plethora of employment opportunities” opening up with the success of the moon mission. “The new space odyssey flies India’s celestial ambitions to newer heights, setting it apart as the world’s launchpad for space projects. Unlocking a gateway to space for Indian companies, it will create a plethora of employment opportunities for our youths,” he said.
Junior minister (independent charge) science and technology Jitendra Singh sought to be poetic as he hailed Modi: “While others fantasise Moon, we have felt the Moon. While others stuck in flight of dreams, #Chandrayan3 has actualised the dream. Tricolour flies high in lunar skies affirming India’s resolve, as articulated by PM @narendramodi, ‘Sky is not the limit’.”
“From the Captain of the nation to the Captain of the mission,” commerce minister Piyush Goyal put out on X, attaching a video of Modi making a phone call to the Isro chief from Johannesburg.