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.
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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.
Bharti Global’s stake in OneWeb has given India lateral entry into this lucrative and newly-competitive global satellite-based internet services market. India and the U.K., the two stakeholders in this company, can build and sustain this collaboration through a well-thought-out bilateral space diplomacy agenda.
India has institutionalized a robust civilian-space agreement with the U.S. through the Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation in 2005 and added a military dimension to it in 2020 when it signed the U.S.-India BECA Agreement. The two countries should now partner to secure each other’s interest in the rapidly-maturing space economy sector.
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
As the world enters the Second Space Age, an Indo-Emirati space partnership can be a lodestar for others. However, it is only the people-to-people connect and the diversity of the innovation linkages between the Emirati and Indian diaspora, that can truly make it a success for science and citizens, and help achieve their aspirations for the 21st century.
COVID-19 has accelerated internet usage and is making digital infrastructure even more indispensable globally. India is actively laying this critical infrastructure on the ground, but is yet to work on the strategic ‘last-mile’ connectivity space-based ICT and 5G plus services. U.S. and China have fast-tracked this, and India should immediately implement the recent space reforms to be regarded as a significant player.
The government’s recent reforms in the space sector have unleashed the imagination, innovation and potential of Indian space start-ups. Strong support from the private sector and inherent Indian technological aptitude will help them fuel India’s space ambitions and economic growth in the 21st Century.
Dr. Chaitanya Giri, Fellow, Space & Ocean Studies Programme, Gateway House was in conversation with Manjeet Kripalani, Executive Director, Gateway House on, India's Space Sector reform: An Opportunity for Business.
Yesterday's path-breaking reforms in India's space sector by the Prime Minister's Office, and establishment of new space agencies, are geared to encourage technology innovation and direct participation by corporations, startups and MSMEs. The reforms will help India leverage Industry 4.0 and the astropolitics that will result. This podcast foreshadows these developments.