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India-France Space Cooperation

India-France Space Cooperation

Why in news?

  • India and France are working on their third joint satellite mission, even as the bilateral space collaboration is entering into multiple domains, including human spaceflight programme
  • France is the biggest partner of India in space
  • According to ISRO officials, ISRO and French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) have undertaken two joint missions ‘Megha-Tropiques’, which was launched in 2011, and ‘Saral-Altika’ in 2013.

India-France background | India-France Space Cooperation 

  • India and France have always been friendly countries.
  • The relationship goes back to colonial times when French traders came to the country to establish commercial relations which culminated in the French having small colonies in India.
  • The French were the last colonial power to enter into trade with India. It was only in the seventeenth century that they did so, decades after the English and the Dutch entered into India for commercial purposes.
  • France has historically shown more understanding of our strategic programmes than others. It was the first western country with which we established a Strategic Partnership.

Strategic partnership | India-France Space Cooperation

  • France is the first country with which India initiated a Strategic Dialogue after 1998 nuclear tests
  • France displayed a greater understanding of India’s security compulsions compared to other countries.
  • Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft and continued with the Mystères, Jaguar (Anglo-French), Mirage 2000.
  • France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site assisted in engine development and hosting of payloads.
  • After the Cold War, France decided that its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region would be India.
  • It was the first P-5 country to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.

India- France: Space Cooperation | India-France Space Cooperation

  • ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES) are cooperating for many decades.
  • French launch pads are used by ISRO for their GSLV: GSAT-17 was launched from Kourou 2017.
  • France is a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.
  • In April 2015, a joint stamp was released to commemorate 50 years of bilateral space cooperation.
  • ISRO and CNES will realize their third joint satellite mission TRISHNA, which is meant for ecosystem stress and water use monitoring as also accommodation of a French instrument of India’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.
  • They jointly developed the Megha-Tropiques satellite which observes clouds and water vapours over the tropical region.
  • A joint Ka-band propagation experiment is also under implementation.
  • In March 2018, the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region and the India-France Joint Vision for Space Cooperation was issued.

About National Centre for Space Studies (CNES)

  • CNES is the French government space agency.
  • Its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research.
  • It was founded in 1961.


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