France to increase ties with India in new areas of Space

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New Delhi, Nov 1 (UNI) France today said it would explore all fields of scientific cooperation with India, especially in new areas of Space Technology.

''We hope to find new fields of cooperation in Space,'' visiting French Minister for Higher Education and Research Valerie Pecresse said, ahead of her visit to Bangalore on Saturday to meet Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists.

She said an Indo-French atmospheric research satellite, Megha-Tropiques, would be launched in 2009.

The satellite, aimed at enhancing the understanding of tropical weather and climate, is being built by ISRO and its French counterpart, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales.

Ms Pecresse is here to prepare the groundwork for the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy next year.

Addressing a joint press conference with Ms Pecresse, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said an Indian Institute of Water Technology was proposed to be set up with French collaboration, which would be a benchmark in terms of Basic and Applied Sciences.

He said India would also modernise its Meteorological Department by 2014, which would provide world-class Met service in the rural areas.

''The first phase will be completed in 2008-09,'' he added.


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