New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are working on a joint lunar mission, which will be the third for both countries. According to ISRO Chief AS Kiran Kumar, the two space agencies have enhanced collaboration in the recent years.
"We are looking at a possible joint lunar mission which is still in a very preliminary stage. We are working on the details at the moment. The relationship between India and Japan in terms of the space agencies has had a visible change. We are working together for possible future cooperative missions," ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar said during the 24th Session of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) held in the Indian city of Bangalore.
The president of JAXA, Naoki Okumura, also expressed optimism.
"India and Japan have been having collaborations in the space sector, which helps us share our knowledge and technologies. I believe that India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia Pacific region through these collaborations," PTI quoted Okumura as saying.
Experts view the collaboration as a positive development and don't think it is directed against any third country, in particular, China.
"Indo-Japanese space collaboration is a positive development as it helps both countries to channel their resources and technology. Both sides have something to offer to each other. The space program of both India and Japan is at a similar level. Also, the joint lunar mission should not be deemed as directed against any third country, particularly China, which is running an advanced space program. India's space mission is a civilian program and geared towards achieving the country's goals," Group Captain (Retd.) Ajey Lele, Senior Fellow, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses told Sputnik.
India, on the other hand, had launched its first lunar probe in 2008 through Chandrayaan-1 and currently, it is gearing up for its next lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, which is scheduled to take off in March 2018.