Orbital view of India at night
Orbital view of India at night

Officials from the United States and the Republic of India gathered, January 30-31, at the Department of State for the eighth meeting of the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group (CSJWG).

The meeting was co-chaired by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer R. Littlejohn and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Karen Feldstein for the United States, and Mr. Shantanu Bhatawdekar, Scientific Secretary of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for India.

The CSJWG discussions covered collaboration in Earth and space science as well as human space exploration, global navigation satellite systems, spaceflight safety and space situational awareness, and policies for commercial space. Participants also considered implementation of guidelines and best practices developed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) to ensure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

The United States and India have strong bilateral cooperation in space. The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, planned to launch in 2024, is expected to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies to monitor resources such as water, forests and agriculture. The mission will provide important Earth science data related to ecosystems, Earth’s surface, natural hazards, sea level rise and the cryosphere.

Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council Chirag Parikh, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Department of State Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu gave welcoming remarks on behalf of the United States.

The U.S. delegation included officials from the Department of State, NASA, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce. Mr. S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO, and Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu delivered remarks on behalf of India. The Indian delegation included representatives from ISRO, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Ministry of External Affairs.