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NEW DELHI: India is working on new space collaborations with Saudi Arabia, focusing on downstream applications and satellite manufacturing, the Indian Space Research Organization said on Friday.

ISRO, India’s national space agency, has been cooperating with the Kingdom under a 2010 agreement with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. There has been growing interest in expanding the collaboration since 2018, following the formation of the Saudi Space Commission, whose CEO, Dr. Mohammed Al-Tamimi, visited India last week.

The trip aimed at enhancing “joint cooperation between the two countries in the future of the space sector,” Al-Tamimi said on Twitter after meeting with ISRO officials and representatives of the industry, as well as visiting research centers.

“Both sides are currently working on a new space cooperation MoU with enhanced areas of cooperation,” the ISRO said in a statement to Arab News.

“India is open to share its rich experience in the field of space with Saudi Arabia, mainly in the interest areas expressed by the Saudi side like downstream applications, satellite manufacturing and academic cooperation.”

More developments are likely to come in the near future, with Al-Tamimi expected to attend the G20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting, held in India’s Bengaluru in July under the country’s 2023 presidency of the Group of 20 largest economies.

ISRO officials have also been invited to take part in Saudi Arabia’s Space Economy Forum planned for the end of this year.

India has been in the global space market since the 1960s and is targeting an almost $13 billion share by 2025, following a regulatory overhaul in 2020 that opened the door to private players and investment in the industry.

Toward reaching that goal, the Indian Space Association, a body established by the government in 2020 to facilitate business opportunities for space startups and the private sector, is looking forward to cooperating with Saudi companies. “ISpA is constantly working on increasing international collaboration with the private space industry,” retired Lt. Gen. Anil Kumar Bhatt, the association’s director general, told Arab News.

“We would be happy to engage with the Saudi Space Commission to explore opportunities for our members and link with private space companies there.”



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