It gives me great pleasure to be present here to share this momentous occasion of the signing of the MOU between ISRO and the Brazilian Space Agency, AEB. Let me join in warmly welcoming Mr. Sardenberg and the esteemed guests from Brazil. We appreciate your presence among us that augurs well for the speedy progress and implementation of the MOU.

Though India and Brazil are located continents apart on the globe, we share several things in common. We both are large countries, with a rich endowment of natural resources. The cultural heritage that we both possess is rich and diverse. We both have long coastlines and bio-diversities that enrich the whole planet. Significantly, both our countries are developing nations striving to accelerate the engines of our economic growth through judicious use of science and technology. In view of this, the challenges that we face are also similar. The sustainable use of natural resources in the context of the burgeoning needs of our population, effective planning and management of urban areas, rapid development of human resources and timely response to mitigate natural disasters are examples of our common needs that demand urgent solutions.

Space technology has an immense potential to address all these problems. Indeed, it has already been put to use in all these areas. I am happy to say that India has harnessed space technology with considerable focus on developmental issues. Through a self reliant programme, India now produces world class satellites that serve applications in broadcasting, communications, disaster warning, survey and monitoring of natural resources and so on. The Indian Remote Sensing Satellites have been one of the most versatile constellations in this field, satisfying diverse needs of earth observations, with sensors that can see details to the level of a few meters size and those which can observe weather in the entire region on a continuous basis. They also have camera systems that can measure very low levels of light energy emitted by ocean that find applications for predicting locations which yield higher catch of fish. These capabilities have a tremendous significance for development at grass root level for predicting crop yield, for locating ground water in villages and in monitoring our environment. A significant part of communications capability in India is dedicated for social development and for educational uses. We have mounted efforts recently to use INSAT for telemedicine applications. Since all the space systems of India are highly tuned for applications in the context as a developing nation, our mutual cooperation is highly relevant.

I am aware of the strengths of Brazil in the field of space particularly in the development of earth observation satellites and their applications, in small satellite systems and several other areas. Both our countries are contributing to the spread of education and capacity building in the field of space through hosting Regional centers for Space Science and Technology Education for our respective regions. Sharing of our experiences therefore will be highly meaningful and mutually beneficial. This can also pave way for greater commercial cooperation meeting mutual needs. Several joint activities could be undertaken to result in synergy of investments and use of resources.

The MOU which is being signed today opens new vistas for cooperation between both our countries in this exciting field. It is quite broad, making it possible for both countries to work together in different areas of space sciences, technology and applications such as communications, remote sensing and meteorology. I take this opportunity to congratulate teams from both ISRO and AEB for their diligent work in concluding this MOU and on behalf of Government of India, I reiterate continued support to fulfill the goals sought by this important accord.