For the first time in the history of Indian Science Congress, the President of India, today (January 4, 2003) addressed the delegates of the Indian Science Congress. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam addressed the delegates of the Space Summit organized as part of the 90th Indian Science Congress, which is organized by ISRO and Bangalore University at the Jnana Bharati Campus in Bangalore.
In the special session organized in the afternoon, the President delivered his lecture entitled "Vision for the Global Space Community: Prosperous Happy and Secure Planet Earth". The lecture encompassed aspects related to growth of technologies and human impact, society and economic growth, transformation of the human society into a knowledge based society and, finally, ensuring a prosperous, happy and secure planet earth. Dr Kalam enumerated through colourful transparencies the growth of technologies and human impact over the last 100,000 years and extrapolated its growth in the coming centuries leading to the knowledge-based societies. He also highlighted issues like dynamics of terrorism, energy and water needs for the future generations, etc. He laid the emphasis for river networking in India to solve the problem of drought and floods. He further highlighted how space technology could be used as a powerful tool for achieving his vision of a prosperous, happy and secure planet earth. While concluding, the President advocated a "Common Minimum Global Space Mission" to address the impending human crises for energy, water and minerals and urged the delegates attending the Space Summit to identify an immediate strategy to work out a fifty-year perspective for international cooperation and strategy for change and an action plan to move forward. The President had an interaction with the students attending the Children Science Congress before leaving the venue.
Inaugurating the Space Summit in the morning, Mrs Vasundhara Raje, Minister of State (Space) highlighted the challenges facing the country, especially in terms of population growth and pressure on national resources and how space technology can be a cornerstone for shaping life on earth, even in least developed countries. She said that India has already made significant strides in the development and application of space like establishing IRS and INSAT systems, which are now used for communication, meteorology, educational broadcast and resources monitoring. She said that the Government of India is committed to continue the advancement of space science and technology for the human benefit. She stressed the need for participation by non-governmental agencies and private entrepreneurs as well as introducing a paradigm shift in the roles of Government and industry. She expressed confidence that the Space Summit would provide a unique forum for the scientists, administrators, industrialists and others to exchange their views and suggest appropriate means for adopting high technology inputs into the sustainable developmental planning and to stimulate thoughts for ensuing newer applications of direct social relevance.
In a message to the Space Summit Mr Norman P Neureiter, US Co-Chairman of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum and Science and Technology Adviser to the US Secretary of State referred to the common vision expressed by President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee in November 2001 to "expand and broaden dialogue and cooperation" in the area of civilian space activities and subsequent renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and US on cooperation in earth and atmospheric sciences. He also added that, following last year's World Summit On Sustainable Development there is a loose, global agenda for building public-private partnership to address real development needs in energy, agriculture, clean water, health, etc. Solutions to the challenges in each of these areas must be based on sound science and technology - giving the Indian Science Community a special opportunity for global leadership. And in this space technology can be directly applied to many of these challenges.
Prof M G K Menon, Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor of ISRO, reminisced his long association with the Indian Space Programme and said that it truly represents the theme of 90th Indian Science Congress i.e 'Frontier Science and Cutting Edge Technologies'
Mr Eric Cerf-Mayer, Adviser to President of French Space Agency, CNES, highlighted the European and French solutions to meet the demands for a sustainable development using space technology. He highlighted the policy of CNES for a worldwide cooperation for a sustainable development.
Mr Suvit Vibulshresth, GISTDA, Thailand, presented the progress made in Thailand for using remote sensing satellite data, including those from Indian satellites, for remote sensing and geographical information and providing high speed access to information to the Government including the Prime Minister of Thailand and the King of Thailand.
Dr M G Chandrasekhar of Worldspace, highlighted how audio broadcast via satellites -- AFRISTAR and ASIASTAR are helping in providing vital information to the remotest corners in Africa and Asia. He highlighted that information related to social awareness on different aspects such as AIDS has become possible. Indian classical music has become popular in other countries mainly because of the CD quality broadcast through World Space receivers, he added.
Mr Sergio Camacho, of the Office of the Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, highlighted the actions taken in implementing the recommendations of the UNISPACE-III held in Vienna in July 1999. He said that out of the 33 recommendations, 11 are being implemented with several countries taking a lead and many other countries participating in their implementation. He said that India is leading the implementation of the recommendation on empowering countries in the use of space for natural resources monitoring.
Chairman of ISRO, Dr K Kasturirangan who had earlier welcomed the delgates to the Space Summit, presented his paper "Space Applications for Sustainable Development - The Vision for the Future". His lecture described the various stages of evolution of the Indian space programme -- the initiation phase of the 70's, experimental phase of 80's, operational phase of the 90's and expansion phase of the 2000s. He highlighted the user involvement in the Indian space programme. Further, he provided the vision for Indian space programme for the future, especially, highlighting the advanced communication satellites for the INSAT-5, INSAT-6 and INSAT-7 series, providing larger bandwidth up to 50 GHz by 2025, DTH and theme-specific satellites like EDUSAT and HEALTHSAT. Similarly, in the area of remote sensing, he said that theme-specific satellites like AGRISAT using microwave sensors, disaster management satellites (DM-SAT), etc, are being proposed. He said that mapping, integration, information systems and knowledge extraction through the National Spatial Data Infrastructure are being evolved. In the launch vehicle technology, he said that launch vehicles for post GSLV-MK III, beyond 2010 are also being studied using reusable launch vehicles, Air-breathing technologies, etc. He also elaborated on the institutionalization mechanism for the Indian space programme among ISRO, industries, academia and users of space. He also said that India would like to become a major player in the commercial space market in providing space services.
In the afternoon, there was a demonstration of Space-Bridge demonstration on Telemedicine conducted by Dr Devi Shetty and Andhra Pradesh Net for developmental communication by the ISRO scientists.
The Space Summit concluded with a Panel Discussion on "Space Technology and Applications- Perspective for the Future".