India’s space reforms have the potential to boost India-Taiwan space relations beyond the pure scientific domain. The two countries have the potential for collaboration between space start-ups, joint ventures, investments, and technology and infrastructure-sharing. This article highlights the scope for India to establish Track 1.5 and Track 2 space diplomacy with Taiwan.
Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme
Dr. Chaitanya Giri is the Gateway House Fellow of Space and Ocean Studies Programme. His present research focuses aquapolitics and astropolitics, the new-age techno-geostrategy, the space and marine industrial complex, and the science of space exploration. Prior to Gateway House, Dr. Giri has worked as planetary and astromaterials scientist for nearly a decade. He was affiliated to the Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institution for Science, and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as an ELSI Origins Network Fellow. He was earlier an International Max Planck Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and the University of Nice in France. Dr. Giri was also a scientific crew member of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. He is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the 2014 Dieter Rampacher Prize of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Science, Germany and the 2016-2018 ELSI Origins Network Fellowship by the John Templeton Foundation, USA to name a few.
Geo- and Space Strategy, Technology Forecasting, Space Exploration, Space Advocacy, Science
Last modified: July 15, 2021
The Indian administration enacted much-needed space reforms in 2020, paving the way for a private space industry in the country. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended space launch activities in the country. The Department of Space must remove these redundancies to make India’s space launch centers and spaceports market-oriented and ready for commercial, military, civilian, and experimental space launches.
On 25-26 May 2021, United Nations India held a Virtual Conference on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Exploring pluri-perspectives in conjunction with OP Jindal University. Chaitanya Giri, Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme, spoke on 'Operationalising AI ethics from a Pluri-Philosophical Lens', where he made the case for Sanskrit as an applicable language for instilling ethics in AI. He also emphasized the need for greater scientific inquiry in natural intelligence to avoid skewed technological progress with AI.
With the space sector being divided into astro-political blocs, India can't afford to stay non-aligned. A recent treaty between China and Russia makes it plain for India that leaving space exploration to a few science aficionados can be dangerous. India needs a national space exploration strategy with tangible economic and meta-strategic goals in sight.
India has had big successes during its first stint as an observer in the Arctic Council. Since then, the country has made substantial progress in its climate action pledges and developed comprehensive strategies to mitigate climate change. With its re-election, India can now offer much more to the global organisation's role in promoting environmental stability in the polar region.
As the density of satellites increases in Earth's orbit, extreme space weather events like solar storms and radiation whiplashes threaten satellite constellations. A ‘whole-of-government’ approach is needed to address the challenges of space weather on India’s converging space and digital economies.
With an increasing human and robotic footprint in the solar system, there is a need to develop robust regulatory mechanisms to prevent the “forward” and “backward” biochemical contamination of these unexplored celestial bodies.
As more countries pursue missions to Mars, planetary explorations are evolving from being science-driven scientific pursuits to an economics-driven one. For India, commercializing planetary exploration must be a national priority. This demands more attention and contributions from the private sector - especially startups and innovative companies - to ensure a vibrant space program.
The maturing private space sector in the U.S. has learned to raise money from the market in the form of sectoral equity-traded funds. Such financing mechanisms will keep the U.S. ahead in the global space economy, which is slated to grow manifold from $430 billion now to $4 trillion by 2040. India's fledgling private space ecosystem, financiers, and stock exchanges can learn from the U.S. and do the same for India's newly reformed private space sector.
India needs a policy mix that nurtures the Space 2.0 industry, secures it from hostile takeovers and predatory investments from overseas investors, and does not suffocate it under excessive protectionism.