Sunday, January 30, 2011

Look Before U Leap

      It is now clear that Washington has not given up its attempts to make India a partner of the International Space Station (ISS).

      What better proof of this than a statement of assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert O Blake saying:`` We are seeking additional ways to collaborate on future lunar missions, the international space station, human space flight, and data sharing. I hope that our private sectors will now have the opportunity to develop new avenues of cooperation in the space realm and build on our achievements to further improve the livelihoods of our populations, he said. He was addressing a meeting at the Syracuse University.

      As stated by ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' earlier India has to tread cautiously while responding to US's proposal to be a partner of the ISS. Any hasty decision will only result in India being controlled by US policies as it has happened to some extent in the nuclear sector.

      That is not all. Also when Blake said that colloboration is being explored in future lunar missions, there is a degree of ambiguity in this statement. Which Indian lunar missions is he talking about? Atleast for the moment there is no Nasa payload in India's second mission to the moon, ``Chandrayaan-2,'' tentatively slated for lift off in 2013.''  Or, for that matter there are no foreign scientific instruments on this flight which is a joint Indo-Russian mission. Also there is no indication moreover of a third India mission to the moon.

    , With regards to human space flight, what type of teaming up is US contemplating with India? On the American side the space shuttle is being phased out. And New Delhi is yet to give the formal `go' for an Indian human space flight programme.

       According to SpaceDaily, a space-related website the  Obama administration has said that United States is hoping to become 'close partner' of India in space exploration.

      The recent removal of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the US Commerce Department's Entity List is an indication that Washington will no longer treat India's space program as a target, but as a close partner in space exploration, Blake said.
     Blake said that the possibilities of cooperation between the India and the US in space, to advance scientific knowledge and human welfare, are without boundaries and limits.
    Paraphrasing former ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair words that India's space program can only be successful when it can produce benefits - material change-for Indian citizens, Blake said: "Indian farmers will see the fruits of our collaboration as U.S. and Indian space scientists work together on climate and weather forecasting for agriculture, navigation, resource mapping, research and development, and capacity building."
   "Our experts have developed enhanced monsoon forecasting that will begin to transmit detailed forecasts to farmers, beginning with the 2011 monsoon season. India also is an emerging leader in earth observation, with the second highest number of earth observation satellites in orbit. American fishing fleets could increase their catch thanks to the collection of tidal data as part of this initiative," he added.
    If it is a colloboration with the US the message is ``look before u leap!''

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