Tuesday, December 13, 2016

India Strides ahead

          By Brian Orlotti

Cover art c/o Astropolitics.
The December 2nd, 2016 issue of "Astropolitics, The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy," examines India’s national space program from various perspectives.

The analysis come at a time of increasing ambition and prominence for Indian space activities and includes lessons which smaller space powers, particularly Canada, could learn much from.

The articles include:
  • An editorial on the Development of National Space Law for India, by Kumar Abhijeet - Acoording the article, "so long as space activities were completely in the governmental domain, there was not a preference for national space legislation." But with private actor participation, legislation becomes necessary since "even though the activities are private, liability is always public." The article discusses the political will for the development of legislation of this type in India and the logical consequences.
  • Power Dynamics of India’s Space Program by Ajey Lele - "Space power is a relatively nascent discourse that is gaining importance globally," according to Lele. His article examines India’s space program within the global context in order to understand the shifting power balances in the space arena.
  • Space, War, and Deterrence: A Strategy for India by S. Chandrashekar - According to Chandrashekar "India must accept and deal with the reality that conflicts and wars in today’s world will be driven by the increasing interdependence between conventional, nuclear, and space war." The tools for these 21st century wars will be "space-based command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) assets, complemented by other ground- and space-based space situational awareness (SSA) components." According to Chandrashekar, India requires "at a minimum, a four-fold increase in capability to launch satellites into various orbits every year," in order to properly defend itself.

The Centres of the Indian Space programme. Graphic c/o 2013-2014 Annual report of the Government of India, Department of Space

Many of the insights reflected in these analyses are now being acted upon. Two examples include:
  • India and Israel, which are pursuing multiple collaborations in space research. As outlined in the December 9th, 2016 Hindustan Times post, "India, Israel to jointly work in space research and cybersecurity," the announcement was made by the ISRO during a four-day visit by the director of the Israel Space Agency. India and Israel will work together on  projects in cyber security, healthcare data analytics, rocket propulsion,  agriculture, biotech, nanotech, robotics and solar energy.
India’s path towards space is now taking a similar course to that of other space powers. Beginning as a tool of national prestige and technical prowess, India’s space program is becoming an economic multiplier, the cradle of a new private space sector and a means to enhance its relationships with other nations.

A rising tide truly does lift all boats.
Brian Orlotti.
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Brian Orlotti is a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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