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India to showcase its use of space technology for development in 90th Indian Science Congress

India will display its use of space technology for development to experts from other countries at a special summit being organized as part of the 90th Indian Science Congress begun today (Friday) in Bangalore.

The summit, however, appears pregnant with possibilities of cooperation between India and other countries, including China, in the areas of remote sensing, disaster management and Earth sciences.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is scheduled to inaugurate the five-day annual meeting of Indian scientists, science managers, policymakers and the general public, this time on the theme “frontier science and cutting edge technologies”.

“India’s use of space technologies for development is rather unique in the world. We will be exchanging this experience with others from the developed and developing countries,” K. Kasturirangan, president of the science congress and chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told.

India’s significant strides in space applications, particularly its foray into remote sensing, have been globally recognised, attracting 11 space agencies to the science congress this year.

Experts from space agencies in the U.S. — including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — as well as Russia, France, China and Malaysia will participate in the congress. “The chairman of the Chinese space agency personally informed me that he could not attend the summit. But he is being represented by the vice-administrator, the number two man in the agency, Guo Bazhou,” Kasturirangan said.

“China has great capabilities in launch vehicles for heavy duty satellites. And we have the capability of building satellites. It’s very similar to the hardware-software strengths that both countries have in information technology. The possibilities are immense on cooperation,” said Roddam Narasimha, director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

India has a proven record of launching smaller satellites and is just beginning to grow in the launch of big satellites with its geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) that “could be a boon for developing countries” as it would cut costs, Narasimha added.

The congress will focus on a myriad other subjects, including nanosciences and advanced materials, biosciences and genome research, agriculture, chemical sciences and Earth system sciences — the basic point being that investments in science today would pay back the technology needs of tomorrow.

Asked if the congress’ recommendations would shape India’s science policy, C.N.R. Rao, chairman of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, said: “It is not meant to be impacting science policy. It is meant to popularise science among the teaching and student communities and the general public.”

“It is a sensitisation programme that takes place for science in the country,” added Narasimha. But Kasturirangan said: “The recommendations of the science congress are taken up for implementation. In fact, an action taken report (on past recommendations) is scheduled for discussion.”

Source: Indo-Asian News Service