New Delhi, 28th June 2023: India and France have embarked on a new chapter of their partnership in the space sector with the launch of the Strategic Space Dialogue. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced the inaugural India-France Strategic Space Dialogue, held in Paris on Monday. Led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the Indian delegation engaged in fruitful discussions with Anne-Marie Descotes, the Secretary-General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France.
The space collaboration between India and France has a rich history spanning nearly six decades, encompassing diverse areas of cooperation such as satellite launches, research, operational applications, innovation, and NewSpace ventures focusing on deep space exploration. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) have joined forces in multiple fields, including space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support systems, radiation protection, space debris management, and personal hygiene systems.
Philippe Baptiste, the President of CNES, recently visited the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru to explore new avenues for collaboration, exchange knowledge, and foster innovation in space science and technology. During his discussions with ISRO Chairman S Somanath, Baptiste emphasized the enduring partnership between the two space agencies and expressed their commitment to its continuation. They also underlined the importance of addressing the challenges and opportunities in the current space ecosystem.
Additionally, India and France have ambitious plans to develop a “constellation” consisting of eight to ten satellites for maritime surveillance. This constellation will play a pivotal role in monitoring sea-traffic management in the Indian Ocean region.
The roots of the Indo-French space partnership can be traced back to 1964 when India’s space program was in its nascent stages, conducting experiments with sounding rockets from Thumba in Kerala. Somanath briefed Baptiste on the outcomes of India’s recent space sector reforms and highlighted the significance of increased industry participation from France.
The Strategic Space Dialogue between India and France signifies a significant stride in their collaborative endeavors to advance space exploration and technology, while effectively addressing the evolving challenges and opportunities in the space sector. It highlights the commitment of both nations to leverage their expertise and resources for the mutual benefit of their space programs and the broader scientific community.