BANGALORE, India — India and the United States have signed a Technology Safeguards Agreement that permits India to launch civil or other non-commercial satellites containing U.S. components.

The accord was signed July 20 in New Delhi by visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

A U.S. Embassy press release July 20 said “the agreement and associated side letters” will facilitate the launch of U.S. spacecraft components and safeguard protected technologies and data of both countries. The release said the side letters commit both nations “to enter into consultations regarding the market for commercial space launch and satellite services.”

“The agreement is a step forward and will definitely create more business opportunities for us,” K.R. Sridharamurthi, executive director of Antrix Corp., the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Space News July 21.

He added, however, that the agreement is “not the end of the road” because it pertains only to civil and non-commercial satellites.

Sridharamurthi said the two countries have yet to conclude a commercial space launch agreement that would allow ISRO to launch third-party commercial satellites containing U.S. components. “We have been working on the draft of this for quite some time now and a final agreement on this is what we have been looking forward to,” he said.

Based in Bangalore, Killugudi S. Jayaraman holds a doctorate in nuclear physics from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He was formerly science editor of the...