New Delhi: Space can be used as a force multiplier to enhance combat capabilities in traditional domains of land, air, sea and even cyber space, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Anil Chauhan, said on Wednesday.
He called upon all the stakeholders of the defence space ecosystem to work on bolstering the counter-space capabilities as deterrent for safeguarding the country’s space assets.
Inaugurating ‘DEFSAT’, a three-day space seminar and exhibition, here on Wednesday, General Chauhan also highlighted the vitality of space for the mankind and also for the armed forces engaged in combat.
Detailing the major initiatives of the government to capitalise space to strengthen armed forces’ capabilities, the CDS mentioned the 75 space-related challenges as part of Mission DefSpace 2022 under the iDEX initiative.
“Under this initiative, a total of five contracts have been signed and an additional four contracts are at various stages of documentation. In the similar timelines, a feasibility study of 12 Make-I challenges is also in progress,” Gen Chauhan added.
The CDS emphasised that the government is encouraging all the stakeholders, including startups, for the development of a dependable space ecosystem within the nation.
“We probably had one startup in the space sector in 2014 which has grown to 204 with 54 additions in 2023 itself. In 2023, we as a nation invested $123 million in the sector, bringing the total funding to $380.25 mililion,” General Chauhan added.
Underscoring that the Indian space economy is currently estimated to be around $8.4 billion, the CDS said the indigenous space economy is expected to grow to $44 billion by the year 2033.
“The government initiatives like Seed Fund Scheme, 0 per cent GST regime, sharing of testing facilities, and technology transfer have provided the rightful support to the private industry. This framework along with alignment of demands and funding support provide the right environment for the private sector to grow,” General Chauhan added.
The CDS also inaugurated an exhibition showcasing various technological advances made by private space industry partners through an exposition and product presentation at the venue.
The seminar organised by CENJOWS, a think-tank for promoting Jointness, Integration and Transformation in the Indian Armed Forces, along with Satcom Industry Association–India (SIA), aims at nurturing coordination and synergy between civil, commercial and defence space programmes, which is considered crucial to leverage the dual-use nature of the space sector.