On 1 February 2017, ESPI hosted an event on the topic “India in Space: The Forward Look to International Cooperation” at the margins of the third day of the 54th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of UNCOPUOS. As ESPI prepares to publish a book with a focus on the Indian space programme and the potential for stronger future space cooperation between India and Europe in the space sector, this event highlighted those areas of cooperation that can prove mutually beneficial in the future on the basis of already existing collaborations between the world’s largest democracies. Other key topics such as finding and building on common ground as well as overcoming hurdles that may inhibit a fruitful partnership were also discussed.
The following distinguished speakers, representing the Indian-, European-, French-, Italian- and German Space Agencies, contributed their valuable insights following the welcome address and introductory speech by ESPI Director Jean-Jacques Tortora:
Imtiaz Ali Khan, Space Counsellor and ISRO Liaison Officer in Europe gave an overview of India’s space programme and the existing Indo-European joint projects while emphasizing the various commonalities between Europe and India which pave the way for stronger collaboration in the future.
Jean-Charles Bigot, ESA Administrator of the International Relations Department highlighted the word “partnership” as a fundamental principle of ESA and expressed a wish for cooperation on the basis that while it is not always easy due to various factors, “it’s even more difficult to succeed alone”.
Celine Bouhey-Klapisz, International Relations Advisor at CNES outlined the long standing cooperation between ISRO and CNES which is based on mutual trust and commitment with a primary focus on joint missions concerning climate change.
Sveva Iacovoni, Head of Multilateral Relations Office at ASI discussed India’s ties with Italy in regards to space activity and stressed the importance of fortifying the relationship with ISRO whilst also alluding to the Open Universe Initiative in endorsing scientific- and astronomical data accessibility to all.
Marc Jochemich, Regional Manager at the International Cooperation Unit of DLR as the final speaker presented Germany’s existing collaborations with India and underlined the significance of scientific exchange as well as the great benefits to be reaped by society as a whole in consequence of space-related cooperation.
Following the presentations, this well-attended event involved an enthusiastic discussion with the audience moderated by ESPI Director Jean-Jacques Tortora.