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India, UAE space pacts to take big leap in Arabian peninsula: Jitendra Singh

Union minister of state for science and technology Jitendra Singh (HT)Premium
Union minister of state for science and technology Jitendra Singh (HT)

New Delhi: Union minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology Jitendra Singh has said that the joint space cooperation between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is on the verge of taking a big leap in the Arabian peninsula

New Delhi: Union minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology Jitendra Singh has said that the joint space cooperation between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is on the verge of taking a big leap in the Arabian peninsula.

Singh is set to lead the official Indian delegation to the “Abu Dhabi Space Debate", a 2-day international meet beginning on Monday.

In a statement issued before departure to Abu Dhabi, Singh said: “India and UAE joint space cooperation is on the verge of taking a big leap in the Arabian peninsula, as the two sides have prioritised increased bilateral space cooperation."

He said that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and UAE Space Agency (UAESA) signed an MoU regarding cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in 2016 and UAE’s first nanosatellite, Nayif-1, meant for collecting environmental space data was launched by PSLV from Siriharikota.

The minister will address the opening ceremony on India’s behalf along with the Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

He will also attend the ministerial plenary on the ‘Role of Foreign Policy in Enabling Space Diplomacy and International Cooperation’ along with the MoS Foreign Affairs of the UAE, Foreign Minister of Bahrain and Minister of Advanced Technologies of Israel.

The minister is also scheduled to hold delegation level talks with Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency to discuss ways and means for further strengthening bilateral space cooperation.

The UAE is an emerging space power in the region and has made rapid strides in the last 25 years of its space journey. In July 2020, UAE launched its Mars mission named Hope Probe which entered into Mars orbit in February 2021. This made the UAE the first Arab country and the sixth in the world to achieve this feat.

UAE is planning to launch Rashid Rover or the Emirates Lunar Mission shortly. In September 2019, Hanzala Al Mansoori became the first Emirati to go to space when he went to the International Space Station (ISS) for eight days through a Russian space vehicle from Kazakhstan. This year, another UAE astronaut was selected to travel to the ISS on NASA’s crew rotation flight, SpaceX Crew-6 for a six-month period.

Singh said that space sector reforms by the government have opened many new vistas and only last month, India made a new beginning in India’s space journey by launching India’s first-ever private rocket.

During the visit, the minister is also likely to pitch for joint start-up ventures between India and UAE in advanced and emerging space technologies during the delegation level talks with Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency.

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