France against one country’s monopoly in space: Sarkozy

Saturday, December 4, 2010

BANGALORE - French President Nicolas Sarkozy asserted that his country was against monopoly of one or two states in space ventures and favoured as many nations to be in the race for the conquest of space.

“We refuse to allow the space adventure to ever become the monopoly of one or two states (countries) and we want, on the contrary, all states that have the means to remain in the race,” Sarkozy said at a function here after landing in this tech hub on a four-day official visit to India.

Referring to the long-standing cooperation between India and France in space and nuclear energy, Sarkozy told about 500 scientists, executives and students that working together was essential because the conquest of space in support of human development would help in meeting the challenges of present times.

“Our space cooperation with India responds to this vision. I would like to find new funding for the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR), a joint research institution set up two decades ago,” Sarkozy said in his address at the satellite centre of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Hailing the success of the Indian space agency in utilising space resources for the benefit of its people, the French president said the French national space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and ISRO would be developing a new research programme together.

“We will build and launch the Mega-Tropiques and Saral remote sensing satellites for climate and ocean observation in 2011. We will launch Indian satellites from Kourou (in French Guyana) and European satellites from India,” Sarkozy said, drawing applause from the audience.

Observing that potential for cooperation between the countries was not limited to the space industry, Sarkozy said joint laboratories were set up for biotechnology, nanotechnology, water, medicine, environmental protection and food security.

“For instance, our relations with the reputed Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore are being strengthened. In the ambitious Unique Identification (UID) project of the Indian government, two of the three partners were French,” Sarkozy noted.

The president also informed the gathering that he found an increasing number of French companies such as Capgemini, Altran and Dexia were becoming established in Bangalore, the global IT services capital, employing thousands of people.

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