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UAE and India Commit to Joint Space Cooperation After Joint Working Group Meeting

IRNSS-1 satellite. Image courtesy of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Emirati and Indian officials have reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in space exploration and satellite projects following the first meeting of the UAE-Indian Joint Working Group on space in December 2017.

Details of that meeting were revealed by senior Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials during a visit to the UAE by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9-11 February, 2018.

Speaking to Emirati media prior to PM Modi’s UAE visit, the Chairman of ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan, said that the Joint Working Group discussions covered a range of potential areas of cooperation.

“The areas of cooperation possibilities also include satellite navigation and sounding rockets, while ISRO has provided a report to the Arab Civil Aviation Commission on the possibility of using Gagan [GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation] satellite navigation services in the region,” Dr Sivan said.

On the planned UAE Mars Mission in 2021, and the Mars Colony to be established by 2171, Dr. Sivan said, “I’m very happy to see the UAE’s great vision for the future in action. In India, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of our space programme, had a similar vision 50 years ago — and today at ISRO we are reaping the results of that vision. The UAE’s Mars Mission is therefore a great and a very necessary idea.”

The Joint Working Group also discussed the possibility of Emirati space scientists being trained and educated at Indian space research institutions.

“Such collaboration will only help make India-UAE relations stronger,” said Dr. Sivan.

The Joint Working Group also discussed possible cooperation on space-based search and rescue (SAR) capabilities for both safety at sea as well as maritime security. Such cooperation would take place under the auspices of the COSPAS-SARSAT agreement that governs space-based SAR at sea.

Dr. Sivan indicated his hope that India’s space heritage that emphasises practical space applications for social and economic purposes could also be applied by the UAE Space Agency.

“ISRO is pursuing a space programme for the last five decades with the goal of developing space technology and its applications to solve the real problems of man and society. Today, we are self-reliant in building, launching and operating satellites for earth observation, communication, navigation and planetary exploration. Our focus is on building a vibrant application programme for social benefits,” Dr Sivan said.

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