Diplomatist – Articles on Indian Space Programme

Diplomatist has covered two major stories on the Indian space programme as a part of its April 2017 edition.

Prof. Chandrashekar from National Institute of Advanced Studies has written on the launch sector with the evolution of PSLV and GSLV taking centre stage as ISRO’s capabilities in the launch sector has matured.

As the global space power games evolve, they will have a cascading effect on the threats and opportunities that the Indian programme will encounter. While opportunities can be exploited suitably, the obvious lessons that can be learned from the PSLV and GSLV experiences is that key areas of development have to be shielded from the vagaries of global power politics. A closer coordination of activities between different arms of the government, the creation of competing capabilities in Indian industry, a clear recognition that India also needs military assets in space and a major expansion in the scale and scope of the programme with clear goals appear to be obvious actions that India should take.

This cover story titled ‘ISRO – BUILDING BRIDGES OVER TROUBLED WATERS‘ is available HERE.


Narayan Prasad, Curator of NewSpace India has written on the diplomacy and international cooperation aspects of India’s space capabilities.

International cooperation has mainly been driven by institutional engagement, peer space agencies or international/ regional forums. While there is a considerable number of international and regional forums where ISRO’s capacity are being explored for international cooperation, such as ASEAN, APRSAF, there is still no clear overarching diplomatic strategy in such engagements.

With several of the thematic ISRO satellite systems coming into play in the next 3-5 years and the step towards the greater evolution of Indian industry into integration roles for both rockets and satellites being taken, there is an evident opportunity to explore the exploitation of satellite systems/service capabilities under ‘Make in India’. This can, in the long run, create an ecosystem towards the creation of trade (via Special Purpose Vehicles or Joint Ventures) where the technological foundation created within ISRO can be utilised for commercial satellite services (both locally and internationally).

Due to the targeted exploitation of space capabilities, evidenced by the South-Asian satellites and the maturation of navigational services through the NAVIC satellite systems, India is now in a position to flex its muscles in regard to space technology and applications and has reached a diplomatic vantage point.