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South and Central Asia: U.S.-India Civil Space and Technology Cooperation

U.S.-India cooperation on science, technology, and space strengthens our bilateral partnership, developing cutting edge research fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. The two countries recognize that science and technology are vital components when addressing a myriad of global challenges. We continue to expand a growing civil space partnership by broadening cooperation into new areas such as Mars exploration, while making substantial progress on joint projects and activities, including: a significant new joint Earth Science mission featuring dual frequency radar capability; continued cooperation on two operational Earth remote sensing satellite missions; and implementation of a professional engineer and scientist exchange program. Ongoing dialogue to further this productive cooperation occurs under the auspices of the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group.

  • Mars Working Group: The United States and India have established a Mars Working Group to explore potential cooperation on their missions which recently arrived at Mars – ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission – as well as other current and future Mars missions. This augments NASA’s provision of deep space navigation and tracking support to the ISRO mission.
  • NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) Mission: The United States and India are moving forward in developing a joint mission to improve understanding of key impacts of climate change, advance our knowledge of natural hazards, and enable many applications for societal benefits. NASA and ISRO signed an agreement to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission for which NASA will provide an L-band SAR instrument and other hardware and ISRO will provide an S-band SAR, the spacecraft bus, and the launch vehicle. The ability of the NISAR observatory to operate simultaneously in both the L- and S-bands will be a powerful tool for discriminating differential scales in many disciplines and will provide data required to estimate the changes in the ice sheets, land vegetation, and land motion that are needed to reduce uncertainties in scientific models.
  • Research Satellite Cooperation: NASA and ISRO, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a Global Precipitation Measurement Mission partner, continue productive cooperation on the ISRO-French Space Agency Megha Tropiques mission by optimizing data quality for scientific benefit. NASA, NOAA, and ISRO also continue to cooperate in the calibration, validation, and application of ocean color observation data on ISRO’s Oceansat-2 mission. NOAA looks forward to collaborating with ISRO on future follow-on ocean surface vector wind missions. The United States and India also are continuing discussions regarding the development of India’s regional navigation satellite system in a manner that is compatible and interoperable with GPS.
  • Space Security Dialogue: The United States and India share a common interest in maintaining the long-term security and sustainability of the outer space environment, which is increasingly at risk from space debris and irresponsible actors. They agreed to establish a formal dialogue on space security, increasing our bilateral consultations on diplomatic initiatives such as the International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Guidelines on Long-Term Sustainability for Space Activities, and increasing bilateral cooperation on space situational awareness and collision avoidance in outer space.
  • U.S.-India ST Joint Commission Meeting: The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) under the U.S.-India Science and Technology Agreement will meet in New Delhi November 2014. During this meeting the United States and India will celebrate the close collaboration between scientists in both countries on issues ranging from emerging materials to atmospheric, environmental and earth sciences. The JCM will also focus on thematic questions like women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as well as regulatory systems in science and technology.
  • Fundamental Science Cooperation: India has committed to participate in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project, an international consortium consisting of institutions from the United States, Canada, Japan, India and China. The TMT is under construction at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and when complete will be one of the largest optical-infrared telescopes in the world. India is also considering providing $210 million in 15 years in cash and kind to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and up to $200 million in kind over 10 years toward collaborations in accelerator RD and associated physics research.
  • India-U.S. Technology Summit: The India-U.S. Technology Summit will follow the JCM and take place in New Delhi, November 18-19, under the theme “Tackling 21st Century Challenges Together.” The Summit will include participation from several hundred companies, academic institutions, and scientists, building partnerships in joint research and development, technology commercialization, and joint business ventures designed to promote trade and investment between our two countries. The Summit will feature a trade show and exhibition to showcase the products, services, and technologies of U.S. and Indian companies and economic development organizations and will feature expert panels on the thematic sectors of manufacturing; life sciences, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare; clean and renewable energy; smart cities, natural resources and earth sciences; and IT hardware, software, embedded systems, and homeland and cyber security. (
  • High Technology Cooperation Group: The United States and India agreed to convene the next round of the High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG). The HTCG, created in 2002 and led by the Department of Commerce, is a forum to discuss U.S.-India high-technology trade issues and also builds the confidence necessary to facilitate trade in sensitive items. The HTCG focuses on cooperative steps that the United States and India can take to create the appropriate economic, legal, and structural environments necessary for high technology commerce and trade in controlled dual-use goods and technologies.