ISRO-Indian Space Research Organization

Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

CNES-Centre National Detudes Spatiales (French)

French National Space Agency (English)

Headquarters: Central Paris

Note: European Space Agency is different from CNES. CNES is France’s own space agency while there are 22 countries part of European Space Agency.

Often the media only covers NASA and ISRO but we have a nice history of space collaboration with France. The collaboration of ISRO and CNES is not new.

ISRO and CNES have an Umbrella Agreement, operating successfully since 1993, under which joint missions like ‘Megha-Tropiques’ (2011) and ‘Saral’ (2013) have been successfully developed.

The above two missions were only to study geographic pattern of the Indian Ocean. This time they have sealed an agreement on Maritime Security.

What is the Agreement?

The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally- and in particular those moving in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Island.

What is Reunion Island??

Reunion Island is an overseas territory of France in the Indian Ocean. They have also set up a military base here. Their many ships often dock here.

Reunion Island

What’s the idea??

The idea is that 8-10 satellites will be launched in this region to track movement of ships and this info will be used by France and India to improve security. It is scheduled to start in 2020-21.

Why is it very important for India??

  1. Main worry of India is the “String of Pearls”

String of Pearls: China is building many ports around India and acquiring it.

  1. Gwadar Port in Pakistan – It is still not acquired but their relations with Pakistan is world known and they can establish their base any time.
  2. Hambantota port in Srilanka also belongs to Chinese Company for 99 years.
  3. They are also building ports in Myanmar and can acquire them in near future.

So, India is worried about the fact that China is increasing its presence in Indian Ocean. Therefore it’s a strategically made move by India.

China building ports around India

Why France is Interested??

  1. India is a fast developing country in the Indo-Pacific region.
  2. India will do billions of defence deals in near future and nice relations with India can give France an edge over other countries.

So, for the time being France is helping India more than Russia these days and its obvious.

That’s all in this topic.

Will be back soon with another interesting topic in “Current topics” blog.

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Jai Hind..