India-UAE Cooperation to Enter 'Higher Spatial Orbit': Dr Jitendra Singh

The two countries are expected to announce joint start-up ventures in advanced and emerging space technologies

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India-UAE space cooperation is expected to enter an entirely different and much higher spatial orbit in the coming years, according to Union MoS for science and technology Dr Jitendra Singh.

Dr Jitendra Singh

Dr Singh is currently leading the official Indian delegation to United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the Abu Dhabi Space Debate (ADSD) (December 5-6), a 2-day international meet.

The development of the space sector is one of the priority areas for the leaders of both India and the UAE, noted Singh. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and UAE Space Agency (UAESA) signed an MoU to facilitate cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in 2016. Additionally, the UAE's first nanosatellite, 'Nayif-1, was launched by PSLV from Siriharikota to collect environmental space data.

In recent time, the Indian government has been working to drive the promotion of the space sector by opening it up to private players as well as foreign capital. In June 2020, the Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) was established as a single-window autonomous agency under the Department of Space for hand-holding the country's nascent private entities in the space sector. The direct impact of these policy measures is evident from the many achievements of Indian spacetech startups such as Pixxel, Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos, among others, this year.

At the ADSD, Dr Singh congratulated the UAE for planning its second human space mission next year by sending four astronauts in space for six months. "The launch of Rashid Rover, UAE's Moon Mission in the near future, and creation of the Space fund are milestones which reflect the commitments and determination of the UAE to excel in the Space sector," he observed.

The two-day event will likely result in joint start-up ventures between India and the UAE in advanced and emerging space technologies following Dr Singh's delegation level talks with Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency.