Russia, India revel four decades since first space flight jointly

(MENAFN) On April 3, 1984, history was made as Rakesh Sharma embarked on a groundbreaking journey, becoming the first Indian astronaut to venture into space aboard the Soviet Union's Soyuz T-11 spacecraft. This momentous occasion marked not only a milestone in space exploration but also heralded a new chapter in the longstanding relationship between India and Russia.

Now, four decades later, Sharma and his Russian counterpart, cosmonaut Oleg Atkov, came together virtually to commemorate this historic event. Addressing an anniversary event organized by the Russian mission in New Delhi, Sharma expressed gratitude for the fruitful partnership between India and the then-Soviet Union, which continues with present-day Russia.

During his seven-day mission, Sharma conducted scientific studies and experiments, contributing to advancements in space research. His famous response to then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's inquiry about how India appeared from space - "saare jahaan se achcha" (the best in the world) - captured the imagination of the nation and remains a symbol of pride.

In a heartfelt message recorded for the occasion, Atkov reminisced about Sharma's positivity and infectious smile during their time together in space. Despite the passage of time, Atkov expressed regret over the lack of opportunities to reunite with his Indian colleague and extended an invitation for a future meeting.

The anniversary celebration not only honors Sharma's historic voyage but also underscores the enduring friendship and collaboration between India and Russia in the realm of space exploration. As both nations continue to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and innovation, their partnership serves as a beacon of cooperation and mutual respect on the global stage.



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