Event ReportsPublished on May 03, 2015
India and the United States, as established space-faring nations, should work together to clearly and publicly define what behavior the international community should find both acceptable and unacceptable,
US, India should work together on Space Code of Conduct

India and the United States, as established space-faring nations, should work together to clearly and publicly define what behavior the international community should find both acceptable and unacceptable, said Mr. Frank A. Rose, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, at a discussion organised at Observer Research Foundation on March 5.

Initiating the discussion on ""U.S.-India Space Security Cooperation: A Partnership for the 21st Century", Mr. Rose said "initiatives like the establishment of TCBMs, the Code of Conduct, and the work of UNCOPUOS cannot be successful without the support and active participation of India".

"But Indian support for these or other rules of the road initiatives only gets us half-way there. I firmly believe that with U.S.-India collaboration in establishing norms of responsible behavior and Indian leadership in multilateral fora, we can make these and future initiatives even better," he said.

Mr. Rose is in India to chair the new US-India dialogue on space cooperation which is beginning next week in Delhi. Recognising the importance of space security, US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in September last year, had called for the establishment of a dialogue to address this important issue.

The discussion at ORF was chaired by Amb. HHS Vishwanathan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF. He stressed on the importance of space cooperation between India and the US, two large democracies.

Welcoming the guests, Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan said that Mr. Rose was instrumental in kick starting the first India-US space security dialogue. She said "hopefully, this is the beginning of a new sustained dialogue between India and the US."

She disclosed that ORF is launching a new initiative on outer space. "We are doing this in the memory of Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla and hence this will be done annually on her birthday, which is March 17. This year, we are doing this on a small scale with a half day event but next year on, we want to do this on a much larger scale involving all the major spacefaring powers." She sought a fruitful partnership with Rose and his department on this initiative.

Mr. Rose said as the world’s two largest democracies, the US-India Partnership is indispensable to global peace, prosperity, and stability. He said Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington in September and President Obama’s visit to India this January were critical steps towards strengthening and expanding the US-India strategic partnership.

He said as we deepen our strategic relationship, we share an interest in addressing the emerging security challenges of the 21st century. And ensuring the long-term sustainability and security of the outer space environment is one of those challenges, and one that the United States and India are uniquely situated to address together.

"Between ISRO and NASA, our two nations have done tremendous work in our exploration of outer space," Mr Rose said.

"I would like to congratulate India on being one of just four space agencies to have reached Mars’ orbit and for being the first Asian nation to do so. It was a pleasant coincidence that NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft and ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission entered the orbit of Mars within a couple of days of each other," he said.

"We’re also pleased that ISRO and NASA have established a Mars Working Group to explore how our separate Mars missions can work together and coordinate their efforts. This is just one area of the nearly 15 years of strong civil space cooperation between India and the United States. We look forward to the continued growth across all areas of our space cooperation, potentially including India’s participation in research aboard the International Space Station," Mr Rose said.

He noted that US-India civil cooperation in space has not led to extensive cooperation on space security, at least to date. "But I believe that just as this is a time of transformation and progress for our strategic partnership, so too is it a time of growth for our space security relationship."

Mr Rose pointed out that in September last year, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi had committed to a new mantra for our relationship, "Chalein saath saath; forward together we go. I believe this is true for our space security relationship as well".

As we begin bilateral cooperation on space security, it is important we have an open dialogue where we share information, discuss areas in which we disagree as well as those where we agree, and identify areas for cooperation, he said, adding that both nations need to identify areas of concrete collaboration.

Mr Rose said there is much that our nations can do together in the multilateral arena as well. Today, India, the United States, and the world all rely on satellites for communications, for disaster management and relief, for treaty monitoring, and for sustainable development, among many other things.

"But there are risks and dangers to operating in space. As the United States Director of National Intelligence noted in January 2014, threats to space services are increasing as potential adversaries pursue disruptive and destructive counter-space capabilities. For example, Chinese military writings highlight the need to interfere with, damage, and destroy reconnaissance, navigation, and communication satellites. China has satellite jamming capabilities and is pursuing antisatellite systems," Mr. Rose said.

Mr Rose pointed out that the US and India are both strong believers in transparency and rules based on international law and customs. "Given the threats and risks, and our national principles and laws, I believe that one of the most obvious and most beneficial areas of cooperation between our countries is in the establishment of rules of the road for outer space activities," he said.

Mr. Rose said there is much we can do as global partners to ensure the long-term sustainability and security of the outer space environment. Cooperation on space is just one piece of a strategic U.S.-India relationship in the 21st century.

Speech of Mr. Frank A. Rose

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