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India lighthouse for smaller, aspiring space nations: WEF official

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NEW DELHI, March 24: The excitement around space in India is attracting talent from around the world and inspiring them to start businesses and contribute to the growth of the sector, a senior World Economic Forum (WEF) official said.

The Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), a platform of the WEF, launched the space technology programme in India last week to forge global collaborations among various stakeholders as the private space sector takes wings in the country.

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“India is seen as a role model, a lighthouse for smaller, aspiring space nations, which also look to India for support. This is something the WEF would like to facilitate, an exchange between large and emerging space nations in the interest of growing the space sector overall in an inclusive and responsible manner,” Sebastian Buckup, member, Executive Committee, C4IR told PTI in an interview.

He said there was immense interest among entrepreneurs keen on leveraging the space sector.

“The fact that India is investing into shared infrastructure, for instance, launch infrastructure for small satellites, could eventually become an equivalent of the digital public infrastructure and what it has done for digital entrepreneurship,” Buckup said.

He said if India managed to create a “space public infrastructure”, it could be a cause for a boom when it comes to space entrepreneurship.

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Buckup, during his India visit, had meetings with various stakeholders from the space sector, including officials from INSPACe, ISRO, and representatives of space start-ups and established players.

“I think many people outside of India are still describing India as an emerging space nation. The reality is that India has arrived in the top section of space actors, and there is an opportunity to shift the narrative and help the world understand what India has really achieved,” he said.

Buckup said India’s strides in the space sector also provided an opportunity to share its best practices and achievements

“We see a lot of momentum also in the private space sector in India, and we see a big focus on application, making space actually valuable on Earth. We want to work with stakeholders across India and leverage that excitement and connect it also with the rest of the world,” he said.

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On future trends for the space industry, Buckup said the space sector would soon emerge as a trillion dollar industry with virtually every company having some interest in the sector.

“I think it is fair to say that at some point, every economy will become a space economy and every company will become a space company. So, these economies and these companies should be ready for that,” he said.

“There will be more and more applications that will focus on hard, difficult to solve problems on earth, in areas from communication to navigation to earth observation,” Buckup said.

He said the growing interest in the space sector would also drive down costs and spur innovation that would be of economic and societal value.

According to the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the Indian space economy is valued at around nine billion dollars with a two per cent share in the global space economy. As per IN-SPACe’s projection, India’s space economy has the potential to reach 44 billion dollars by 2033 with about 8 per cent of the global share. (PTI)




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