The combination of space technology and telecom will propel the reach of digital services to remote locations across the country and help in inclusive development, Minister for Communications and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Monday.
Asserting that the government is fully committed to reforms and ensuring healthy competition in the sector, the Minister exhorted the industry to study the global best practices and come up with suggestions to contribute in formulation of enabling policy.
“It is very obvious that space and telecom combined can help us reach areas which are conventionally not reachable… like forested areas, the tribal areas which are in very remote places… in North Eastern parts of our country, the Himalayan sections, the desert areas… Many of these sections where conventional methods could not take digital services, I hope with space technologies we will be able to reach those areas,” he said.
The combined might of space technologies and telecom would also contribute “in a big way” towards inclusive development, the Minister said speaking at an event to mark the launch of the Indian Space Association.
Space and telecom are organically connected sectors, especially with regard to managing spectrum, he said. Terming it a “complex subject”, the Minister urged the industry leaders to study best global practices on the subject and come up with benchmarks that India can adopt.
“We are an open-minded government. We want to reform this sector and provide level-playing-field to everybody. We want that there should be healthy competition in this sector. So please come up with recommendations which will help us formulate policy in that direction,” Vaishnaw added.
India has to augment its commercially available indigenous satellite communication solutions, tracking capabilities across geographies and protection of space assets, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Monday.
He was speaking at the launch ceremony of the Indian Space Association, a space sector industry body comprising companies such as Bharti Airtel, Larsen and Toubro, Agnikul, Dhruva Space and Kawa Space.
“Economic growth and technology development are the most important ingredients of national power. In such an environment, the national governments can no longer be the only stakeholders in evolving policies for national security and development,” he said.
The private sector is an equal stakeholder in nation-building, Doval added.
“Hitherto, exclusive domains such as space that were dominated by the public sector, therefore, need to be opened up to the private sector to ensure that we remain ahead of the curve,” the national security advisor (NSA) said.
Doval said, “Private investments in the space sector will generate high tech jobs, facilitate technology absorption, and ensure involvement of foreign partners through joint ventures.”
These steps will make India a manufacturing hub of space assets, he said. Doval said that a strong private sector industry will also contribute to meeting growing security challenges.
“India needs to focus on augmenting capacities in several areas such as…commercially available indigenous satellite communication solutions, research and development into futuristic technologies, tracking capabilities across geographies and protection of space assets,” Doval said.
Creating an appropriate regulatory environment to address safety, security and legal liability issues will be central to this effort, he said. The NSA said rapid strides have been made by the private sector in development of niche technologies.
“Many of these technologies are dual use. They have revolutionised activities in several areas including navigation, remote sensing, weather monitoring, agriculture, satellite communication and broadband internet,” he said.
According to some estimates, the global space industry is poised to grow exponentially, the NSA said. “With appropriate policy and regulations, the Indian private sector can become a co-traveller on India’s space journey,” he mentioned.
The excellent work done by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop an ecosystem of high quality suppliers provides India a solid base on which to upscale the involvement of private sector in space domain, the NSA noted.