Sorry for curbs on Indian space units: NASA chief
"I am sorry about the past. But I would certainly take forth a good word about Indian space capabilities," says Griffin.india Updated: May 09, 2006 16:40 IST
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chief Michael Griffin on Tuesday said he "was sorry about" American sanctions on some Indian space units.
Asked at a press conference if he would use his "good offices" to see that sanctions which continued to be imposed on some Indian space units were lifted, he said: "I am sorry about the past. But I would certainly take forth a good word about Indian space capabilities and Indian technical capability."
Ironically, Griffin will travel to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and the Sriharikota launch centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation, which continue to be on the US entity list, during his two-day visit to ISRO facilities.
The first NASA chief to visit India in three decades, Griffin visited the ISRO Satellite Centre on Tuesday morning and signed a memorandum of understanding on the inclusion of two US scientific instruments on India's first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1.
Asked why it had taken so long for a NASA chief to come to India and whether there was a "self-imposed" ban on such visits, he said there were no such restrictions.
"I think there was a period of time between our countries where because of nuclear proliferation issues and other factors, the ability to cooperate in technical matters was less strong than it is today," Griffin said.
Griffin said the recent visit to India of US President George W Bush and his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve various issues had greatly contributed to the possibility of increased cooperation.
NASA and ISRO, he said, were looking to avoid duplication of work and to see that the two space agencies were not spending resources on the same thing.
"We are looking at what are the areas where we can increase cooperation between our countries so that we are both not spending on the same length," he said, adding the two agencies were working on sharing data on earth sciences as well as broad scientific cooperation in exploration "beyond earth".
ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said, "We (ISRO and NASA) would like to see how best we can avoid duplication of efforts, especially in areas like earth observation and space sciences."
To a question, Griffin said NASA was not looking to outsource some of its work to ISRO. NASA was looking to combine the resources both agencies to undertake ventures of mutual interest.