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"We have attempted many times space programme with China but so far we have not succeeded. However, I hope it happens in the near future," the former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS in this Meghalaya capital.
"We can still engage with China to have the space programme," Nair said after delivering the second lecture of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Lecture Series organised by the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong.
Asked if India could become a global superpower in space technology, the scientist said: "We have the competence to build rockets and satellites and provide satellite-based services. We have all done this in a cost effective manner. The fact that many foreign countries are coming to India for launches is really something which is of envy to others.
"If we continue to keep the same level of performance in the years to come, we can be a leader in space technology. But we also require human space flight programme in place soon to be a global leader in space technology," he added.
"The GSLV Mark III is entirely home grown and that is why it is so satisfying and we have proven our totally indigenous cryogenic engine. This is a great achievement for the country."
On India's future manpower problem in terms of future space research and development, Nair said that those "running away from India" were doing so because of "their greed for money".
"Whereas the people remaining here (India) are passionate about their country and love to contribute to the country. Even if .01 per cent of our brain goes out, the remaining 99.9 per cent remains here. That is more than sufficient for doing our job."
Asked to compare India's space programme with other nations, the former ISRO chief said: "India is at par with the US, Russia, Europe and China. Our technology is also the same but we are leaders in applying such technology for solving problems of man and society."
Earlier, in his address on the Kalam Lecture Series, Nair recalled the former President's contribution to the nation.
He underscored how the former DRDO chief, who later became the President, adopted a different approach towards work and towards fulfilling his commitment to the society.
Harking back to the days when the two worked together, Nair talked about the former President's exemplary leadership qualities and his sense of ownership.