Today, nations are dependent on outer space assets for a wide array of functions in both civilian and military domains. The number of players (state and non-state) utilizing outer space for these purposes is set to increase dramatically making it congested, potentially leading to conflicts and accidents. Issues such as space debris, arms race in space, radio frequency interference are also likely to become impediments for the long-term sustainability of outer space. These factors underline the need to strengthen existing arms control measures while establishing norms for responsible behaviour in outer space. Therefore, it is imperative to create global platforms for exchanging views on these issues and make workable recommendations.
Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-American woman in space, was part of a growing trend of international cooperation in outer space between India and the United States of America. Her research represents cross-cultural efforts on behalf of all mankind for the betterment of life on Earth and our understanding of outer space. Her tragic accident on board the Columbia Space Shuttle reminds us that the stakes are very high when it comes to outer space activities, but brave individuals like Kalpana Chawla exemplify the belief that the rewards outweigh the dangers. Her accomplishments further prove that traditional barriers such as nationality and gender are giving way to closer ties between people all across the globe. Indeed, India and the United States have continued expanding their cooperative efforts to reach for a broad vision of international human space activities.
In honour of Ms. Chawla, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) proposes to hold an annual dialogue that will highlight the success of India’s cooperation with all the major spacefaring powers in space activities and to discuss the growing socio-political challenges on Earth that must still be overcome in order to expand on the example set by Ms. Chawla.
For more details, visit Observer Research Foundation