India, Israel To Deepen Cooperation In Space Technology

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Jerusalem: India and Israel will sign agreements to deepen cooperation on advanced technologies in the space sector during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, a top Israeli official has said. Describing Indian space satellite launchers as “reliable”, Israel Space Agency Director General Avi Blasberger has said his country would look to send more satellites aboard Indian launchers in the future.

“We are going to sign some implementation agreements. Actually we have an agreement between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Israel Space Agency (ISA), a cooperation agreement, and these agreements that we are going to sign during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are implementation agreements which will be added to the main agreement,” Mr Blasberger said.

“The main agreement is a kind of an umbrella agreement that allows us to do any operation which we like. However, it is not a specific one,” he added. “These are state-of-the-art technologies on which we are going to cooperate with the India Space Research Organisation,” he said.

Asked about the strengths of ISRO that Israel would look to tap in the future, he said, “We can use, something which we have done in the past and also at the beginning of this year”. “We can use the launching capacity of India to launch Israeli satellites and we can do joint programmes,” Mr Blasberger said.

“Indian launchers are first of all available and then they are very reliable. The past experience shows that all the launches from India were successful which means that they are reliable launchers,” he said.

The ISA Director General accompanied Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis to New Delhi in December. The two countries have since then working to enhance cooperation on certain specific projects.

The Director of Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad visited Israel earlier this year to work out further details of cooperation. “On that we are talking since the visit of the minister of science and myself to India last December, exploring with ISRO areas in which we can cooperate. Actually, there was also a visit of the head of Satellite Application Centre to Israel last February in Ahmedabad,” he said.

PM Modi’s three-day visit to Israel is aimed at commemorating 25 years of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and will also see discussions between him and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to explore ways to enhance cooperation in key strategic areas.

The two sides are also expected to sign a number of agreements in development, and science and technology. Some of the major satellite launches by ISRO include the launch of PSLV-C37 rocket on February 15 with a record-setting 104 satellites on board the craft. India also launched the cheapest mission to Mars, named Mangalyaan.