Takshashila Ideashala 2.0: The Space Ecosystem in India

The Final Frontier 

The Takshashila Institution, organised the second edition of ‘The Ideashala’, on ‘The Space Ecosystem in India’, at the India International Centre in New Delhi, on February 10, 2020. The Ideashala is a unique, quarterly forum that brings together researchers, practitioners as well as young and emerging leaders to deliberate on issues of contemporary significance. The event was organised with the International Summer School, New Delhi.

The event started with a welcome address by Lt. General Prakash Menon, Director of the Strategic Studies Programme at the Takshashila Institution and introductory remarks by Nitin Pai, Co-founder & Director, Takshashila Institution. 

Utkarsh Narain presented Takshashila’s policy proposal, ‘The New Space Policy 2020’. He argued for the need to decouple the policy, regulatory, and service delivery roles of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to clear the decks so that ISRO can focus on research and the execution of missions of national importance. 

A presentation by Nitin Pai on ‘India as a Space Power’ followed. Nitin talked about space power as an instrument towards well-being, prosperity, and happiness of the Indian people. He explained how vulnerability in space is non-linearly proportional to the presence in space while vulnerability on earth is proportional to adversary’s presence in space. He proposed ways in which India could secure its strategic interests in space and on other traditional frontiers.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Sana Khan, Senior News Editor at India Ahead News. The participants, including academics and students from various universities, asked questions to the panel, delving into the details of the presentations and the documents. 

Post the panel discussion, the room split into two parts. The experts moved to a roundtable discussion, on the way forward for India’s space strategy. The roundtable was held under the Chatham House Rules. The students went through a leadership workshop by Lt. General Prakash Menon, who drew lessons from his long stint in the Indian army and gave the students some valuable life lessons. The event ended at 1 pm, and the participants proceeded for lunch.   

The Takshashila Institution is an independent and non-partisan think tank and school of public policy. Takshashila offers 12-week certificate courses in Public Policy, Technology and Policy, and Defence and Foreign Affairs and a 48-week postgraduate program in Public Policy.