“We are very willing to cooperate with India in the field of aerospace,” said Sun Weigang, chief engineer of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) at the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) co-organised by the International Astronautical Federation and the Chinese Society of Astronautics 2017 in Beijing, after delivering a keynote talk on “The Engineering Plan of China’s Lunar Exploration Program Phase III”. Sun was among the top speakers at GLEX.
India was the notable absentee from the three day conference that brought together space engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, agency representatives and policy-makers from dozens of countries. Cooperations with India depends upon the governments deciding the extent of collaboration, a top Chinese aerospace scientist has said, playing down the so-called “space race” between the two countries.
Sun during the conference didn’t express surprise on the absentee from the conference and said that,“the directors of space agencies from both sides have met and have discussed about cooperation and collaboration.” Speaking on the occassion Sun said that, ” both the countries should invest in space programmes. If the two governments were willing, then the possible areas of cooperation is very wide.
Valanathan Munsami, chief executive officer of the South African National Space Agency, said it was surprising that India wasn’t present at the conference.Speaking of collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation, Munsami said talks were ongoing about launching a joint science mission by South Africa, Brazil and India. “We would bring in the satellite bus, Brazil would bring in the instruments and India would launch it,” he said.
Despite India’s competitive space programme, including its successful Mars orbiter project, China is considered to have a more advanced programme with its six manned space missions to date. It emerged last year that India and China were cooperating on the proposed “BRICS Constellation of satellites”.