First Indian space law being vetted by military

Law encourages private participation in space business

First Indian space law being vetted by military

The draft of first Indian space law that seeks to encourage private participation in the space business is being scrutinised by the armed forces because of which Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) may require more time to make it public.

Once the military completes its vetting, the Isro would incorporate those comments and forward the draft to the Ministry of External Affairs. The draft would be released in public domain only after receiving the comments from the foreign office.

“The entire process was to be completed by December 2015, which has not happened. The service headquarters have taken more time,” a source familiar with the law making process told Deccan Herald.

The process of framing the Indian space law began more than a year ago and a major conference to discuss its various parameters was held in Bangalore in January 2015.

The proposed law aims at allowing the entry of private players in many space ventures, including owning satellites and operating launch vehicles like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), as the space agency is toying with the idea of handing over the PSLV services to a consortium of companies.

Space activities in India are completely under the government with private sector serving as a supplier. In recent years, multiple proposals from private firms to launch satellite and carry out downstream applications are stuck in the Isro for lack of policy and absence of a regulatory law. In contrast, private firms in the United States and Europe make satellites and operate launch vehicles for commercial activities, leaving the government agencies free for deep space explorations.

The Indian space law, however, would not address the issues concerning militarisation of space. But a space policy, being prepared in a parallel track, is likely to give importance to the military aspects of space and may even propose creation of a new agency to deal with security concerns associated with space.

Militarisation of space

  Internal opposition within the Isro was responsible in finalising the space policy with a military component as it may lead to second Indian agency handling space affairs, said another source

 One of the proposals on the table from the military side is to have a separate launch pad for military satellites on the Odisha coast (Wheeler’s Island)

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