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IAF chief advocates public-private collaboration to explore space potential

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
April 20, 2024 11:47 IST
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Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has said the traditional boundaries of the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains are increasingly becoming "blurred", bringing about a "paradigm shift" in war fighting.

IMAGE: IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari addresses a gathering at the felicitation ceremony of outstanding sportspersons of the IAF, in New Delhi, March 19, 2024. Photograph: Jitender Gupta/ANI Photo

In a recorded video address that was played at the inaugural session of the three-day Indian Defence Space Symposium in New Delhi on Friday, the IAF chief also said for India to achieve its rightful place in the comity of nations, "becoming a spacepower to reckon with is not an option, but an imperative".


The 'Gaganyaan' mission exemplifies the growing cooperation between the IAF, ISRO and other agencies involved in space exploration, he said.

The integrated air drop test for the crew module are planned to be conducted by joint teams of the IAF and ISRO in the near future, the IAF chief said.

"Successful landing experiments of the reusable launch vehicle are testimony to the joint venture and I am confident that we are on the right track," he said.

Four 'astronauts' -- all fighter pilots of the IAF -- are currently under training as part of India's "Gaganyaan" programme.

The IAF chief also said in order to "maintain our strategic autonomy", capabilities must be developed that would be necessary to "defend our interests in space".

In his address, the air chief marshal underlined that with a massive surge of new technologies and opening up of space to private players, there is a "disruption in the established scheme of things".

"New possibilities based on audacious financing are introducing new perspectives for innovative solutions and low-cost access to outer space," he said.

However, with these new possibilities, "new threats" are also coming to the fore, the IAF chief added.

"We are seeing the democratisation of space with increased private sector involvement. Civilian space travel, a dream 25 years ago, is a reality today," he said.

Domain experts, senior officials from the armed forces and representatives of the space sector industry are taking part in the symposium that is being held from April 18 to April 20 at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi.

"With growing exploitation of space by private players and the military, space has definitely become the ultimate high ground," he said.

"The traditional boundaries of the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains are increasingly becoming blurred, bringing about a paradigm shift in war fighting. I feel, in order for us to maintain our strategic autonomy, we must develop capabilities that would be necessary to defend our interests in space and guarantee not only the freedom of access but also the freedom of action," he asserted.

The IAF chief said to "achieve our full potential in space", there is a requirement for greater public-private participation and interaction among all the stakeholders, including the armed forces.

While the National Space Policy 2023 is in the "right direction" and will give a definitive impetus to "aatmanirbharata" (self-reliance), "we will need to work together and create a robust, thriving and vibrant space ecosystem in India," Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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