Tuesday 26 January 2010

Obama rejects high-tech cooperation with India (UPI Asia)

MD Nalapat

Manipal, India — Once in office, U.S. President Barack Obama apparently decided to abandon his own policy preferences in favor of those of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Given the reluctance of the former president and the current secretary of state to agree to an equal partnership with India, it is no surprise that the past year has seen the killing-off of the tiny shoots of U.S.-India high-tech cooperation promised by former President George W. Bush.This is despite the eagerness of NASA for joint projects with India. The U.S. space agency is aware that it will continue to be commercially outclassed by the European Union unless it ties up with India's Space Research Organization.

The Indians can undertake space launches that are 40 percent cheaper than the EU. Were NASA to outsource some of its hardware and software needs to India, the agency would outclass the Europeans in almost every segment of space research and exploration. This is why successive NASA administrators have – on record – pushed for closer cooperation with India.

However, the death-grip between Washington and Islamabad has thus far sabotaged all such efforts, even though NASA and ISRO have numerous complementarities, such as in hardware and software.