July 14, 2005
To realize the commitment by the Prime Minister of India and the President of the United States to expand cooperation in civilian space programs, and to build on the pioneering work of the India-U.S. Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce of June 2004, Minister for External Affairs K. Natwar Singh and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agreed in March 2005 to establish a Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation. The Joint Working Group held its inaugural meeting in Bangalore, India, on June 29-30, 2005. Dr. P.S. Goel, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre led the Indian delegation, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Anthony F. Rock of the Department of State led the U.S. delegation.
The Joint Working Group held a productive exchange of views and discussed new and expanded areas for civil space cooperation. The two delegations addressed a broad range of issues and reached the following conclusions:
- The Joint Working Group provides a useful mechanism to explore possibilities for enhanced cooperation, promote understanding of government policies and procedures, and facilitate collaboration by addressing issues promptly.
- Progress in the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership dialogue opens up significant opportunities for cooperation in joint satellite activities and launch.
- India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission offers an outstanding opportunity to begin cooperation in space exploration. Cooperation on this mission will further both countries’ goals in space and NASA believes that its participation in this programme will be an important contribution to the Vision for U.S. Space Exploration announced by the President of the United States in January 2004.
- Significant progress has been made in the U.S. GPS, the U.S. WAAS and the Indian GAGAN. Both sides have a shared interest in promoting interoperability among existing and future civil space based positioning, navigation, and timing systems to create a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). This area is ready for expanded bilateral cooperation.
- We express the intent to collaborate on a variety of earth observation projects. We agreed in principle to establish an earth reception station in India for the U.S. National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), and to investigate comparability and complementarity of data from Landsat and IRS satellites.
- Closer cooperation in international initiatives such as the Group on Earth Observation as well as efforts to develop a multiple hazards early warning and response system will serve national objectives of both sides. We also see strong complementarities in our expertise in satellite communications technology and applications, including tele-medicine and tele-education, and in education and training related to space. We will continue to explore opportunities in these areas.
The two delegations have identified the next steps that need to be taken by each side and have agreed that the next meeting will take place in Washington in the spring of 2006 or prior to that time as mutually agreed.