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Updated: November 14, 2009 16:51 IST

Manned mission to moon soon: President

PTI
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SKY IS NO LIMIT: India's first unmanned scientific mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, successfully takes off from Sriharikota. The President announced that a manned mission to the moon is likely soon. File photo
PTI SKY IS NO LIMIT: India's first unmanned scientific mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, successfully takes off from Sriharikota. The President announced that a manned mission to the moon is likely soon. File photo

After the unmanned Chandrayaan-I, the country wants to send a manned mission to the moon, President Pratibha Patil said today.

“We have sent an unmanned spacecraft, Chandrayaan-I, to the moon and we hope to send a manned spacecraft to the moon in the near future,” Mrs. Patil said inaugurating the India International Trade Fair (IITF) here.

The President lauded the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) for organising a special exhibition at the Nehru Pavilion in the Pragati Maidan, the venue of the IITF, showcasing the nation’s stride in the area of space technology.

The exhibition, ‘India-A Space Odyssey’, showcases the country’s long journey in the field of space and related technologies.

“The future belongs to inventions, innovations, and enterprise. We must be prepared to move in that direction and to make India a storehouse of knowledge and expertise,” the President said.

Chandrayaan-I was launched in October 2008 on two-year lunar mission. But it came to an abrupt end on August 30 this year. However, the Chandrayaan found signs of water on the moon marking a great advance in the country’s space research.

The President said the economy had come a long way since beginning of the reforms in the early 1990s. “It resulted in higher growth rates, technological upgrade, increased foreign investments and larger trade volumes,” she said.

Pointing out that the economic reforms has integrated our economy with the rest of the world, and has brought in many opportunities, she said, “India emerged as a favoured destination for foreign companies, corporations and businesses”.

She said the country’s commitment to continue to engage with the world remains and “we will look at ways in which we can enhance our trade and economic ties with other countries”.

The Government recently signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea.

The FTAs with Sri Lanka and Singapore are already in operation.

The country has been also building global pressure for conclusion of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations for further opening the world trade.

However, it was the country’s large domestic market which stood it well in the backdrop of recession, said the President.

“Our strong domestic market and upwardly mobile middle class population, along with healthy growth rates, all point towards our growing economic clout in the world” Mrs. Patil said. She said as the nation expands its infrastructure, there will be opportunities for over USD 550 billion in the next five years for investment.

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