Cabinet approves India-Nigeria MoU on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes

Cabinet approves India-Nigeria MoU on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes

New Delhi, October 22, 2020

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between India and Nigeria on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The MoU was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Bengaluru in June 2020 and by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria at Abuja on August 13, 2020.

An official press release said the MoU would enable potential interest areas of cooperation such as remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science end planetary exploration; use of spacecraft, launch vehicles, space systems and ground systems; practical applications of space technology including geospatial tools and techniques; and other areas of cooperation to be determined by the two sides.

The two sides will set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from Department of Space (DOS)/ISRO and National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementation.

It will provide impetus to newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space, the release said.

The signatories intend that the mutually decided programmes will be performed on a cooperative basis. Funding arrangements for such activities will be decided upon by the signatories mutually on a case by case basis. The financing of joint activities carried out under this MoU will be provided by the signatories as per the laws and regulations of respective signatories and subject to the availability of funds allocated for these purposes.

Cooperation with the Government of Nigeria through this MoU would lead to developing a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. Thus, all sections and regions of the country will get benefited, the release said.

India and Nigeria have been trying to have formal space cooperation for more than a decade. With the initiatives from the Indian High Commission to Nigeria, a draft inter-Governmental MoU for space cooperation was shared with Nigerian authorities through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

After a few iterations through diplomatic channels, both sides have arrived at a workable draft of the MoU and the same was processed for internal approvals. Though the approvals for signing the MoU were obtained in time, appropriate opportunities/occasions for the signing of the MoU had not arisen due to cancellation of a few visits in late 2019 and early 2020 and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic situation, the release added.

NNN

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