France, India agree to establish maritime surveillance centres in India


French Space Agency CNES on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to set up a maritime surveillance centre in the country.

A press statement issued by the CNES said that the agreement was signed by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and India’s space agency Chairman K. Sivan in Bengaluru. This signature follows on from the broader agreement signed last March during President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India.

“The CNES-ISRO agreement, intended to supply an operational system for detecting, identifying and tracking ships in the Indian Ocean, provides for a maritime surveillance centre to be set up in India in May this year, sharing of capacity to process existing satellite data and joint development of associated algorithms,” the statement read.

“For the next phase of the programme, studies for an orbital infrastructure to be operated jointly by the two countries are ongoing. CNES is working with its industry partners and with ISRO to devise the most appropriate technical solution,” CNES added.

The meeting between CNES’s President and ISRO’s Chairman also offered the opportunity to confirm the progress of the agencies’ work in the field of human spaceflight to lay the groundwork for missions of future Indian astronauts.

A team of experts from ISRO will start receiving training this month at the Toulouse Space Centre, the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations and the MEDES space clinic, the statement said.

At the end of his visit, Gall commented: “Our relationship with India is flourishing and maritime surveillance from space is a domain of strategic interest to our two nations. It is through the remarkable integration of CNES and ISRO teams that we have been able to deploy this programme in such a short time after it was launched during President Macron’s state visit to India just a year ago.”

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