- Indian and France space agencies will set up a joint satellite surveillance system to step up maritime domain awareness .
Indo-France Joint Maritime Surveillance System
- ISRO and CNES (French space agency) have signed an agreement to establish a joint maritime surveillance system.
- The maritime surveillance system constitutes 2 components namely
- Constellation of satellites in the LEO (low earth orbit)
- The constellation of satellites to be launched in LEO will help detect, identify and track ships in the Indian Ocean.
- A maritime surveillance centre
- A maritime surveillance centre in India to collate and process the data obtained from satellites and facilitate maritime data sharing in line with the White Shipping Agreement signed in 2017.
Indo-France Strategic Partnership
- India and France share a robust partnership in 3 strategic areas namely defence, nuclear energy and space. (USA and Russia are the only other countries with which India has this level of engagement)
- Indian Ocean Region is a priority in the Indo-French strategic partnership.
- This is because France is also an Indian Ocean rim nation as it has its overseas territories such as Reunion Island.
- In the Raisina Dialogue of 2017, India and France signed the White Shipping Agreement to enable the exchange of information on maritime traffic and to enhance maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
- French President visited India in March 2018 in a bid to elevate Indo-France strategic relationship.
- Space cooperation is one of the areas identified.
Need for joint maritime surveillance system
- Shared concerns: India and France share concerns in IOR on the following issues
- Maritime traffic security in IOR in general and Horn of Africa in particular
- Respect for freedom of navigation
- Fight against organized crime, trafficking
- Smuggling and illegal fishing
- Rise of Chine: Both India and France are wary of China’s growing assertiveness in IOR.
- As a result India and France agreed to develop Automatic Identification System in order to augment maritime domain awareness in IOR.
- Maritime Surveillance System will play a significant role in this direction.
In Brief: Indo-French Space Cooperation
- Indo-French Joint Satellite Mission for studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics.
- It basically studies the influence of convective systems on tropical weather
- It is a Climate Change satellite used to study sea levels changes in the oceans.
- Trishna satellite
- It is a satellite for infrared monitoring of land
- Oceansat3-Argos mission
- To be launched in 2020 for oceanographic studies.
- Collaboration in Gaganyaan
- France will help India’s ambitious Ganganyaan project in the following areas
- Space medicine
- Radiation and space debris protection
- Waste management in space
- Personal hygiene systems