Oman eyes India's support in building space programme

New Delhi has been quick to use its space programme’s high-profile successes in the diplomatic arena. (File Photo: AFP)
New Delhi has been quick to use its space programme’s high-profile successes in the diplomatic arena. (File Photo: AFP)

Summary

  • The nations had previously inked a memorandum of understanding in 2018, underscoring peaceful cooperation in space

New Delhi: India is stepping up efforts to bolster Oman's space programme, focusing on human capacity development and providing space-based services, according to people aware of the matter.

Despite the earlier emphasis on space hardware and satellite ventures, this collaboration is expected to steer in a different direction, according to the persons cited above. The nations had previously inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2018, underscoring peaceful cooperation in space.

Queries mailed to the foreign ministries of India and Oman were not answered by press time.

In August, Oman's Transport and IT Minister, accompanied by senior officials, interacted with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) leadership. 

Their deliberations led to the unveiling of a GIS Portal by Isro, tailor-made for Oman, encompassing various sectors like agriculture, urban planning, and disaster management, Isro said in a press release

“Specific cooperation proposals, including the building and launching of satellites for the Sultanate of Oman, ground station establishment, and a sounding rocket launch in Oman, were also discussed," according to the Isro statement.

The delegation also met with Indian space startups to look into the possibility of commercial collaborations.

India's proactive stance in utilizing its space prowess for diplomatic outreach, especially with nations in the Global South, has been evident for a while now. A notable instance was the 2017 launch of the GSAT-9, the South Asia satellite, designed to serve neighboring countries, reinforcing regional ties.

“Termed India's technology largesse from the sky to the peoples of the region, the satellite will prove to be a boon in the entire region’s progress. It is also expected to cement bonds among Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka," according to an official release at the time of the satellite’s 2017 launch.

In recent years, India has signed a number of space cooperation agreements with countries in West Asia, South America and Africa.

New Delhi has been quick to use its space programme’s high-profile successes in the diplomatic arena. At one level, India has argued that its space achievements underscore the country’s broader economic and technological rise over the last three decades. The country’s use of space diplomacy is also part of an effort to project New Delhi as a partner that can deliver much-needed services and technology for the Global South.

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