India At Inflection Point in Space; India AF Chief Says

23rd Apr 2024
India At Inflection Point in Space; India AF Chief Says

Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari says that India is at an inflection point in its space efforts. Commercial efforts are democratizing space. However, there are new challenges. In a prepared video played at Indian DefSpace Symposium 2024 in New Dehli on 18th April, ACM Chaudhari declared that:

Traditional boundaries of the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains are increasingly becoming ‘blurred’, bringing about a ‘paradigm shift’ in war fighting.

Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari

India building on Mission DefSpace

ACM Chaudhari called for a set of changes to the way that the country does space. He stated that India needs to be able to defend its interests in space and guarantee “not only freedom of access but also freedom of action.”

Building this ability will take more partnerships between public and private parties in India. He called for private initiatives such as ISPA and Sat Com Industries Association, among others, to “converge” with the military to clearly define their way forward. He points out that of the 75 challenges in India’s Mission DefSpace programme, 29 of them are the final responsibility of the IAF. He also notes that industry and government need to cooperate to create “a roust, thriving, and vibrant space ecosystem in India.”

He pointed to the Gaganyan mission, which is expected to inaugurate crewed Indian space missions in 2025, as an example of the cooperation between Indian agencies. The successful tests thus far are an indicator, as he sees it, that India is on the right path when it comes to developing its space industry.

The country’s space programme gained world-wide recognition with its Chandrayaan programme launches. The India Space Agency’s 2023 successful lunar landing was a great scientific achievement. The difficulty was highlighted  days before the landing, when Russia failed to place a lander in an operational manner near the site that India had targeted at the lunar south pole, and the lander crashed into the Moon.

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