India’s Lit Up Border Can Be Seen From Space — But 237 Million Lack Electricity

india electricity

To mark the year’s end, NASA just released the “Top 15 Space Station Earth Images of 2015″ selected by its Johnson Space Center’s Earth Observations team. All 15 are spectacular, most are thought-provoking, but one in particular is sad.

The photograph is a nighttime panorama that shows one of the few — possibly only — major international borders on Earth that can be seen at night from space.

Cool? No, not cool. Not at all. Here’s why.

The bright orange line in the photo above is the border between India and Pakistan. It is bright because India has fenced and placed high power floodlights across more than 1,200 miles of its 2,000 mile border with Pakistan. It is sad because while the floodlights glow bright each night, some 237 million Indians live without electricity each day.

Of course, we live in times when the idea of building fences and walls along borders has become quite popular. Not withstanding the evidence that walls and fences do little to make anyone more safe, every country has a right to secure its borders as it sees fit. India just seems to like the idea of fences more than most.

With plans to also illuminate it eventually (and some portions already floodlit), India’s eastern border hosts a project even more ambitious that this. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bent on completing the 2,000 mile long double razor-fence along its border with Bangladesh that has been in the works for a quarter century now. Murmurs of also fencing off some parts of India’s border with Nepal have now begun to surface.