Space and satellite communication are significant for India’s ambition of achieving a $1-trillion digital economy, said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Information Technology. He added that satellite communication is equally important for scaling up quality internet access across the country.
“The satellite is emerging as an inherent part of the blueprint for delivering quality internet to all citizens and enterprises in India,” the minister observed during his opening address at the ongoing Indian Space Congress 2022 in New Delhi on Thursday.
He added that both the sectors would be pivotal to the creation of successful use cases or domains for catalysing technology startups as well as in the development of devices and electronics originating in the Indian manufacturing ecosystem.
“Our ambition is not just to be in the global value chains of tech solutions or apps alone. The opportunity, ambition and desire are to become a trusted player in the newly emerging global value chains of electronics and microelectronics,” he said.
Asserting that the ubiquitous internet bandwidth, latency, reliability and resilience of the internet were at the core of the country’s digital strategy, the minister emphasised that the commercial space segment and satcom would enable 1.2 billion Indians to directly connect to the internet through their devices by 2025-26. Referring to his own experiences as in charge of the aspirational Khiphire district in Nagaland, Chandrasekhar mentioned that even today the area’s collector did not have internet access.
“So, our primary mission is to ensure that we deliver the internet to connect every Indian citizen to accelerate digital governance as well as the digitalisation of our economy. And space and the satellite will be an important part of that,” he said.
Commending the close partnership developing between stakeholders in the space sector and startups, coupled with the government’s own broader goals in areas such as semiconductors and innovation, the minister said a cohesive approach would be encouraged for attaining the best results.
“For many years all pockets of innovation in the Indian economy operated independently. The disruptions and innovations in the coming decades will be a collaborative effort between all elements, whether they are in the government or the innovation ecosystem,” he said.
The minister also mentioned how as the first users of microcomputers and microelectronics, NASA’s Gemini and Apollo missions had contributed to the rise of the semiconductor industry in the US and the world.