Indo-US space cooperation 'slow': ISRO chief

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Washington, Jan 31: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair has expressed concern over the ''slow'' growth of cooperation in the space sector between India and the US. Dr Nair made this observation in reply to a question about US export controls at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) here yesterday.

''It was a difficult question. Each country had its own laws,'' he said. Dr Nair, however, added that the two countries enjoy good bilateral relations at political level. ''In 2005, our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the US and President Bush agreed to strengthen the relations in space cooperation, space commerce and so on,'' Dr Nair said. He gave details of difficulties in acquiring equipment from US companies but pointed out that the record was ''mixed''.

''There are positive signs and there are negative, but we have to be patient.'' Dr Nair explained how ISRO had been working on developing peaceful applications of outer space, especially in the field of education and agriculture.

In reply to a question, he said India had no competition with China in the field of space. ''On a commercial basis Chinese space agencies use Indian data. But we do not have any formal cooperation with China,'' he said.

The ISRO chief said International cooperation, rather than competition was going to be the norm for the future.He also recalled the role played by the United States in India's space programme during its formative stage in the sixties.

Dr Nair, who is scheduled to meet NASA administrator Michael Griffin and other officials, said ISRO and NASA were working ''very closely''.

UNI

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