French Prez to commence India tour; to visit ISRO

French President Nicolas Sarkozy would commence his four-day India trip on Saturday.

Bangalore: French President Nicolas Sarkozy
would commence his four-day India trip with a visit to Indian
Space Research Organisation here tomorrow, where the spotlight
would be bilateral space cooperation.

The French President is slated to land at the HAL airport
at 10:00 AM by a special French aircraft, from where he will
head to the Leela Palace hotel located on the old Airport

He will then proceed to ISRO Satellite Centre and deliver
an address to some 500 attendees, who comprise scientists from
ISRO and other institutions, senior executives of various
companies and students.

Sarkozy is highly likely to have a brief interaction with
top officials of ISRO, who are expected to take him on a short
visit around the ISRO facility.

The focus is expected to be on Indo-French space
collaborative projects, the Megha Tropiques and SARAL.

Megha-Tropiques (Megha meaning cloud in Sanskrit and
Tropiques in French meaning Tropics), being jointly developed
by ISRO and French National Space Agency (CNES), is expected
to be launched by 2011 to study tropical climate.

Another ISRO-CNES mission to be launched next year is
SARAL (Satellite for Argos and Altika) for seasonal forecast,
oceanography and climate studies.

Commenting on Sarkozy`s visit, former ISRO Chairman,
G Madhavan Nair, said, "We have strong relationship with the
French space agency. We worked together on many projects. The
Megha-Tropiques and Saral are the two projects that are going
to be realised soon.

This we have been working for last several years and I am
sure it will pave way for more stronger collaboration for the
future". The visit would provide momentum to the projects, he

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in and around the
city in view of Sarkozy`s visit. Police personnel have been
stationed at the old airport, at the hotel and ISRO, police
sources said.

The President would also be accompanied by his wife Carla
Bruni. A delegation of seven ministers and business honchos
would also accompany the President during his India tour.

Valerie Pecresse, the French Minister for Higher
Education and Research, would inaugurate the Bangalore
Consulate, its fourth in India on Saturday.

The President will visit Agra, Delhi and Mumbai during
his tour.

Sarkozy would leave here around 1:50 PM police said.