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 Indian Space Policy 2023

Context:

The Indian Space Policy 2023 was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

The policy seeks to institutionalise private sector participation in the space sector, with ISRO focusing on research and development of advanced space technologies.

Relevance:

GS III: Space

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Provisions of Indian Space Policy 2023
  2. Current Status of India’s Space Sector
  3. Challenges in the Space Sector

Major Provisions of Indian Space Policy 2023

The Indian Space Policy 2023 outlines the roles and responsibilities of key players in the Indian space sector and encourages private sector participation. Here are the major provisions of the policy:

  • Clarity in Space Reforms: The policy aims to provide clarity in space reforms and promote private industry participation to drive the space economy opportunity for the country.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: The policy delineates the roles and responsibilities of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), space sector PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe).
  • NSIL: Strategic activities related to the space sector will be carried out by NSIL, which will work in a demand-driven mode.
  • IN-SPACe: IN-SPACe will be the interface between ISRO and non-governmental entities.
  • ISRO: ISRO will focus its energies on developing new technologies, new systems, and research and development. The operational part of ISRO’s missions will be moved to the NewSpace India Limited.
  • Private Sector Participation: The policy will allow the private sector to take part in end-to-end space activities that include building satellites, rockets, and launch vehicles, data collection, and dissemination.
  • Use of ISRO facilities: The private sector can use ISRO facilities for a small charge and is encouraged to invest in creating new infrastructure for the sector.
  • Increase in Share of Global Space Economy: The policy will help India increase its share in the global space economy substantially from less than 2% to 10% in the future.

Current Status of India’s Space Sector

India’s space sector has gained global recognition for its cost-effective satellite building capabilities. Here are some of the current developments in India’s space sector:

  • Peaceful and Civilian Use: India continues to advocate for peaceful and civilian use of outer space and opposes any weaponization of space capabilities or programs as part of its commitment to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament.
  • ISRO: ISRO is the 6th largest space agency in the world and holds an exceptional success rate.
  • Private Space Companies: With over 400 private space companies, India ranks fifth globally in the number of space companies.
  • Defence Space Agency: India has recently established its Defence Space Agency (DSA) supported by the Defence Space Research Organisation (DSRO). The DSA has the mandate to create weapons to “degrade, disrupt, destroy or deceive an adversary’s space capability”.
  • Defence Space Mission: The Indian Prime Minister launched the Defence Space Mission at the Defence Expo 2022, Gandhinagar.
  • Expanding Satellite Manufacturing Capabilities: India’s satellite-manufacturing opportunity is expected to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2025 (up from USD 2.1 billion in 2020).
  • SAMVAD Program: To encourage and nurture space research among young minds, ISRO launched its Student Outreach Program called SAMVAD at its Bengaluru facility.

Challenges in the Space Sector

  • Lack of Regulations on Commercialisation: The rise of private companies launching satellites for internet services (such as Starlink-SpaceX) and space tourism is accelerating the commercialization of outer space. Without a proper regulatory framework, rising commercialisation may lead to monopolization in the future.
  • Rising Space Debris: As more outer space expeditions take place, space debris accumulates, and even small pieces can damage spacecraft due to the high speed at which objects orbit the Earth.
  • China’s Space Leap: China’s space industry has grown rapidly, and it has launched its own navigation system, BeiDou. The participation of Belt Road Initiative (BRI) members in China’s space sector may solidify China’s global position and lead to the weaponization of outer space.
  • Increasing Global Trust Deficit: An arms race for the weaponization of outer space is creating an environment of suspicion, competition, and aggressiveness across the globe, which could lead to conflict. It could also put at risk the entire range of satellites, as well as those involved in scientific explorations and communication services.

-Source: The Hindu


March 2024
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