The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States has said that its cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation remains intact, PTI reported.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote to ISRO chief K Siva on Thursday evening informing him that the space organisations will continue to work together, according to the Hindustan Times. His letter suggested that the decision was based on “guidance received from the White House”.

“As part of our partnership with you, we will continue to work on issues using the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flights Working Group, Planetary Science Working Group, US-India Earth Science Working Group, and the Heliophysics Working Group,” Bridenstine said in the letter. “Based on guidance received from the White House, I look forward to continuing these groups in the future.”

Bridenstine had deplored India’s anti-satellite missile test last week, saying that the event created 60 pieces of orbital debris big enough to track and 400 pieces of debris in total. Of these, 24 pieces rise higher than the International Space Station’s orbit around Earth. “That is a terrible, terrible thing, to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” Bridenstine had said.

ISRO scientist Tapan Misra had countered NASA’s claim that the anti-satellite missile test had increased collision risk to the International Space Station and said the debris will burn out in six months.

In his letter to the ISRO chief on Thursday, Bridenstine mentioned that he had recently written to the Indian space agency “indicating a suspension of activities under: the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group” programme.

Bridenstine said in the letter that space debris was a “serious issue” for the US and a responsibility for all nations who operate in space. “We will continue to monitor the remaining debris from your test as relates to safety of our human spaceflight activities especially at the International Space Station,” he said.