Wanted to identify myself with Indian youth: Williams

Mumbai: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams on Wednesday said that she aspired to "identify" herself with the Indian youth.

Williams, who holds the record for the longest space flight by a woman, had reportedly carried a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and an idol of Lord Ganesha in space.

"I wanted to identify myself with the youth here.

These are things that you guys do. I had really long hair like some of the young girls here before I went to space," Williams said at a programme organised by the Indian Council of Social Welfare (ICSW) in suburban Chembur.

She also observed that the percentage of working women in India was greater than in the US.

"Actually, here in India the percentage of working women is greater than their US counterparts," the 47-year-old said.

The astronaut, who had last come to India in October of 2007, is on a week-long tour of the country. Delhi was the first city she visited on Monday.

"It is amazing to be in India as there are a lot of interactive, imaginative and motivated kids out here. I am looking forward to India's participation in the space programme…I am really excited to meet as many people as I can in India," she said.

Williams was presented a memento by the ICSW on the occasion.