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Greater Indo-US space cooperation needed: ISRO chief
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | January 31, 2008 08:28 IST
India on Thursday said though its understanding with the United States at the political front is good, there is a need to expedite the process of moving forward on the issues of space cooperation and space commerce.
"At the political level there is a good understanding. In 2005, our prime minister visited the US and with President Bush agreed to strengthen the relations in space cooperation, space commerce and so on. We are trying to move forward on this," Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization G Madhavan [Images] Nair said in Washington.
Nair was participating in a seminar on 'Global Space Agenda' under the aegis of the Space Initiatives of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top think tank in Washington, DC.
"There are positive signs and there are negative signs," he remarked going on to make the point that recently there was success with Raytheon on GPS, but with "another" company on semiconducter fab, the export control regulations kicked in.
There are pluses and minuses. But we have to be patient. The process is rather slow and I wish it was faster," the ISRO chief said.
Brushing aside the apprehensions that military programmes could siphon funds out of the ISRO, he said, "Right from its inception, ISRO has been working on the peaceful application of outer space. There can be no weaponsiation of outer space. That has been our stand."
"As far as far military programmes are concerned, we have another organisation, the Defence Research and Development Organisation. We are de-linked and there is no commonality," Nair added.
Nair, who is also the chair of the Space Commission and secretary in the Department of Space, denied having any formal relation with China in the space programmes.
"On a commercial basis Chinese space agencies use us. But otherwise we do not have any formal cooperation with China," he said.
The ISRO chief is scheduled to meet senior officials of the Bush administration, including NASA [Images] administrator Michael Griffin, during his visit. The fine tuning of America's involvement in Chandrayan 1 will be discussed.
Nair maintained that a probe of Mars [Images] by India is very much on the agenda, but the details of what the Indian scientific community wants is under study.
"Our scientific community would like to see what new things we can find. It is not just for the sake of sending a probe to Mars. Yes, we have an agenda by 2012 we should have a Mars mission," he said.
Nair stressed that India's space programme has proceeded with focus to harmonise technology for the benefit of the common man.