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India and China Make Concrete Plans To Cooperate in Space

Oct. 5, 2015 (EIRNS)—Asia’s two rising space powers, China and India, have moved to determine specific space project areas that they will work together on.

At a joint meeting last month, six major areas of space cooperation were decided upon, adding concrete detail to the first China/India space agreement, which was signed one year ago, in September 2014. At that time, a joint working group was set up. B.K. Dadwal, who heads the Indian group, told the Times of India that "hosting payloads is one of the six talking points." He explained: "We don’t know which Chinese payloads we’ll launch on which of our satellites, and vice-versa. These details have to be worked out." He added that the other areas under discussion for cooperation are Earth observation, disaster management, space science, and navigation.

For years, India and China have had a sometimes friendly and sometimes not-so-friendly competition in space. Their civilian space programs (both have separate military programs) have each had a different emphasis, with India’s mainly on Earth applications satellites, and more recently planetary, and China’s on their orbital manned program, space station, and lunar missions. In this, they complement each other nicely and each would benefit from cooperation with the other. Both countries have only recently embarked an astrophysics and space science mission, which would also be a good area of cooperation.