India is likely to sign an agreement soon to participate in an European Union (EU)-promoted ambitious satellite-based navigation system, giving a major boost to their economic and political ties.
The EU hopes India, with its sharp edge in the technology domain, will be able to significantly contribute to the Galileo satellite positioning and navigation services system that is being positioned as a rival to the US GPS.
“We have been discussing India’s participation in the project for over three years now. A framework agreement on this is likely to be signed in a few weeks’ time,” said a senior European Commission official working on the project. “The final text of the agreement is being prepared and it is likely to be signed at the ministerial level soon,” the official, who didn’t want to be named said.
The Galileo project is a joint initiative of the EU and the European Space Agency. The EU says the growing requirements of global coverage cannot be met by a single satellite system alone.
According to the official, India, with its vast geographical area, stands to benefit significantly from the Galileo project that will comprise a constellation of 30 satellites.
India had agreed to participate in the Galileo programme at the end of the fourth India-EU Summit in 2003. China has committed an investment of 200 million euro in order to finance specific activities in the development and deployment phase of the navigation system.
The European Commission official said besides India countries like Canada, Russia, Argentina and South Korea were also likely to enter into formal agreements to participate in the programme.