Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan urged the industry on Wednesday to work on counter-space capabilities. He mentioned that the nation has invested $380.25 million in this growing sector, which has attracted 258 start-ups from 2014.

Inaugurating ‘DEFSAT’, a three-day Space Seminar and Exhibition at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt, Gen Chauhan stated that the government has envisioned big targets to achieve self-reliance in this domain, ranging from space augmentation to exploration.

Listing some major government initiatives to strengthen armed forces capabilities, the CDS informed that about 75 space-related challenges, as part of Mission DefSpace 2022, have been posed under the iDEX initiative, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Under this initiative, a total of five contracts have been signed and additional four contracts are at various stages of documentation. In the similar timelines, a feasibility study of 12 Make-I challenges is also being progressed,” said the General.

The Indian space economy, he pointed out, is currently estimated to be around $8.4 billion and is expected to grow to $44 billion by 2033. “The government initiatives like Seed Fund Scheme, 0% GST regime, sharing of testing facilities, 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,” MoD quoted Gen Chauhan as having said at the seminar.

He emphasised that the government is encouraging all the stakeholders, including start-ups, for the development of a dependable space ecosystem within the nation. “We probably had one Start Up in 2014 which has grown to 204 Start Ups in space sector with 54 additions in 2023 itself. In 2023, we as a nation invested $123 mn in the sector bringing the total funding to $380.25 mn,” said Gen Chauhan.

Chauhan enumerated the vitality of space for the mankind and the armed forces, emphasising that space can be used as a force multiplier to enhance combat capabilities in traditional domains of land, air, sea, and even cyber, as per the MoD. He called upon all the stakeholders of defence space ecosystem to work on bolstering the counter-space capabilities as deterrent to safeguard the country’s space assets.

The CDS, as stated by the Ministry, also inaugurated an exhibition showcasing various technological advances made by private space industry partners through an exposition and product presentation at the venue.