India, with its rich history in space exploration and recent advancements, has emerged as a prominent player in the global space economy. From satellite launches to lunar missions, India has made significant strides in the field. This article explores India’s potential to become a leading force in the global space economy and the key factors contributing to its success. India’s space program, administered by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has been in operation since the 1960s. Over the years, ISRO has successfully launched numerous satellites for communication, earth observation, and scientific research purposes. Notable achievements of ISRO include the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in 2013 and the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission in 2019.
“India can have a $40-100 Billion space industry by 2040”: Arthur D. Little (Source: Livemint)
Advancements in Technology and Infrastructure
One of the main reasons behind India’s growing influence in the global space economy is its advancements in technology and infrastructure. ISRO has developed cost-effective satellite launch vehicles, such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which have gained international recognition for their reliability and efficiency. These advancements have not only enabled India to meet its own space requirements but also attract commercial satellite launches from other countries.
Government Support and Policies
India’s government has played a crucial role in fostering the growth of the country’s space industry. It has provided significant financial support to ISRO, allowing for the development of cutting-edge technologies and infrastructure. Additionally, the government has
implemented favourable policies to encourage private participation in the space sector. This has led to the emergence of numerous startups and private companies working in collaboration with ISRO, further boosting India’s position in the global space economy.
Skilled Workforce and Research Institutions
India boasts a pool of talented scientists, engineers, and researchers who contribute to the country’s space program. Renowned academic institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Science (IISc) produce highly-skilled professionals in the field of space science and technology. The presence of such a skilled workforce, coupled with collaborations between academia and industry, has been instrumental in India’s technological advancements and its quest to become a leader in the global space arena.
International Collaborations and Partnerships
India actively seeks collaborations and partnerships with other countries and international space agencies. These collaborations provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange, joint research and development, and sharing of resources. Notable examples include the joint Indo-Russian lunar mission (Luna Resurs-1) and the collaboration between ISRO and NASA on various space exploration projects. Such partnerships foster mutual growth and strengthen India’s position as a global space leader.
Economic Potential and Commercial Opportunities
The global space economy presents vast economic potential, and India is well-positioned to capitalize on it. With a growing demand for satellite-based services, including telecommunications, broadcasting, and weather monitoring, India’s expertise in satellite technology and launch capabilities puts it in a favourable position to capture a significant market share. Furthermore, the government’s policies promoting commercial space activities and the presence of startups and private companies in the sector create ample commercial opportunities for India in the global space economy.
Indian space startups have received a total funding of over $200 million since 2021 and with ISRO’s plan to set up its own space station by 2030, there is scope for more investments by firms belonging to the private sector.
India’s progress in the field of space exploration and its contributions to the global space economy are undeniable. With advancements in technology, government support, skilled workforce, international collaborations, and commercial opportunities, India has the potential to become a global leader in the space industry. As the country continues to invest in research and development, it is poised to make even greater strides in the years to come. India’s journey towards space leadership is an exciting one to watch, and the possibilities it holds for the future are boundless.
Authored By: Prof. Amit Kanchanbaras Professor & HoD- Dept. of Finance Head - Corporate Relations ISBR Business School, Bengaluru