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India natural partner of US in space technology : Congresswoman

India is a "natural partner" of the US in the area of space and technology, an influential American lawmaker has said, underscoring the possibility of a "real strong partnership" between the two countries in the field.

Barbara Comstock, one of the nine lawmakers from the powerful House Committee on Science, Space and technology, recently returned from a trip to Bangalore and New Delhi.

The Congressional delegation was led by Congressman Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Committee.

In Bangalore, the delegation visited the Indian Space Research Organisation and talked about its relationship with NASA.

"They were really impressive because for a fraction of what we spend they were doing so much more," said the Republican lawmaker from Virginia's 10 Congressional District, which has a sizable Indian-American population.

"Everyone felt very positive about the partnership and the ability to do more. What a vital partner our Indian colleagues are because of the advancement in these areas," she said.

The lawmakers also met 'Team Indus', who are preparing for an independent space launch.

"That was an impressive operation to see," she said.

Reflecting on her maiden visit to India, Comstock said the largest democracy of the world is a "natural partner" for the US.

"The advanced science, space and technology community is just a natural fit for us to be working with," she said.

Responding to a question on cooperation in the space arena, Comstock said Mars mission is an area where there's already a lot of complimentary efforts between the two countries.

The two countries are also working together on some of the radar projects and natural disasters.

The delegation was also impressed by the manner in which ISRO application of its technologies.

"I heard more practical applications in how they present their space programme which we probably need to do that more," she said.

Noting that the science community in India consists of really brilliant people, she said there is a possibility of a "real strong partnership" there.

The Congressional delegation also had representatives from corporate sector in Bangalore wherein the issue of H-1B visas came up.

The Republican Congresswoman expressed her support to H- 1B visas.

"We see this as an opportunity that you want to have that exchange you want people to be able to be here. People who come here get their educations here. I'd like to staple a green card to the degree and keep them here," she said, adding that she has co-sponsored a number of those bills.


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