China has proposed that it enter into joint agreements with India to collaborate on space solar power projects.
During a trip to Beijing, India's former President APJ Abdul Kalam was submitted with the idea by senior Chinese officials – he was also offered the chance to teach at Beijing University.
The Times of India reported that the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the government agency which oversees China's space missions and satellite launches, gave the 82-year-old Kalam a "great reception" at its headquarters.
"Wu Yansheng, president of CAST has said his organization is very much interested [in collaborating] with India and [the Indian Space Research Organisation] ISRO on the space mission and would like to establish a formal initiative from both the nations," V. Ponraj, a scientist who is a member of Kalam's delegation, said in a statement.
"Kalam assured, certainly he will take up this interest to the Government of India and ISRO, so that a hard cooperation and collaboration between ISRO, [Defence Research and Development Organisation] DRDO and CAST is realized... [It] may be space-based Solar Power initiative so that both India and China can work for long-term association with proper funding along with other willing space-faring nations to bring space solar power to earth.”
Ponraj added: "Such a mission will be a great example for the entire world and will bring peace and prosperity to the both the nations as well as to the world.”
Some of the readers' comments to the Times report (from presumably Indians) reflected great suspicion over China's motives for seeking a scientific collaboration with India.
One reader wrote: “China has a history of [untrustworthy] people. They always have stabbed us in the [back]... I smell a bad motive behind this. India should not entertain [this proposal] unless sure of mutual benefits.”
Another brought up the spectre of China's principal ally in South Asia, Pakistan.
“Why India? Why not beloved Porkistan [Pakistan]? Porkistan is just for drone target practicing?”
Yet another reader attacked China's integrity.
“China's ping pong diplomacy means China's backstabbing response to any business dealings. All they would do is have spies who steal technology,” he or she charged.
However, another reader favored the proposal, citing its mutual technological benefits.
“The idea of space solar power plant is great,” he or she declared.
“Solar plants on earth are ineffective and produce minuscule amount of power while requiring huge land areas. If you build [a] solar power plant in space you have unlimited area and unlimited energy – 90 percent [of] solar energy is blocked by earth's atmosphere and there is no night in space. But it will require [a] huge effort. No single country can build it by itself. It will require collaboration.”