Indian delegation in US for 2-day space conference

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 21:51

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Washington: Amid strain in ties between the two countries over diplomat`s arrest, a team of leading ISRO scientists are here to take part in the first ever ministerial meet on international space exploration sponsored by the US.

A S Kiran Kumar, Associate Director of the Space Applications Centre (SAC), who is leading the Indian team, is in Washington for the two-day 2014 Space Exploration Conference and Heads of Space Agency Summit.
The meeting will also be attended by heads of 30 top space agencies including those from China, Germany, the US and Russia.

However, the Indian delegation has not been represented at the ministerial level although the team is part of the US sponsored conference. Neither, the Indian team has been headed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Head Dr K Radhakrishnan.

As of now, no official explanation has been given for a relatively low level representation at the conference. But it is being speculated that the ongoing strain in India-US bilateral ties over the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the New York might be the cause behind it.

“We`re welcoming an Indian delegation to the State Department tomorrow as part of the first ever international space exploration forum we announced earlier today”, said State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
The State Department termed the Indian participation in the space conference as business as usual.

Jen Psaki said that India and the US have great partnership in the field of space exploration.

ISRO`s Mars orbiter Mission, which is India`s first interplanetary mission, is currently cruising to the Red Planet following its successful launch in November, 2013. If successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency in the world to enter Mars after the Soviet Space Progam, NASA and European Space Agency.

First Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 21:51

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