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Cabinet okays MoU between India and Nigeria on space cooperation

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Cabinet okays India-Sweden MoU on cooperation in polar scienceNew Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS): The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Wednesday apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Nigeria on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.

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

It will enable potential interest areas of cooperation such as remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation or for that matter space science and planetary exploration among others. Use of spacecraft, launch vehicles, space systems and ground systems are also areas of cooperation that the MoU will help, believes the centre.

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This MoU would lead to the setting up of a joint working group, drawing members from Department of Space, 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.

“The signed MoU will provide impetus to explore 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,” said a government statement.

The signatories will mutually decide the funding arrangements, on a case by case basis.

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

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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 was obtained in time, occasions for signing of this MoU have not arisen due to cancellation of a few visits in late 2019 and early 2020 and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic situation.

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