India has interest in SSP. Peter J. Schubert, Winter 2010, Online Journal of Space Communication, “Costs, Organization, and Roadmap for SSP”, http://spacejournal.ohio.edu/issue16/schubert.html The European Space Agency (ESA) has several modest research programs in SSP. India's space agency ISRO has interest, but inadequate funding for SSP. The current center of mass for SSP is in Japan, with the recent announcement of long-term corporate investment. Japan has limited indigenous resources, leading to a strong ethic of energy conservation, so its citizenry are aware of the importance of energy. The space agency JAXA, together with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), large corporate conglomerates, and able universities, appear to have the will and the way to achieve viable SSP satellites.
India can create SSP best, has already begun working on the tech and needs to develop more. Taylor Dinerman, June 8, 2009, “Should India and the US cooperate on space solar power?”, The Space Review, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1389/1 If the US has a serious medium-term need for a very large new source of clean energy, India needs it even more. While there is a lot of talk about terrestrial solar, wind, and geothermal power as alternatives to coal—which seems to be currently politically unacceptable—or nuclear—which has its own set of political problems but whose greatest drawback may simply be the length of time it takes to build new power plants—space solar power (SSP) may be the only alternative that could be made to work before the major global electricity demand crisis hits, around the year 2050. In Washington lots of people have complained that the Obama Administration has so far not given the India-US relationship the attention it deserves. Others are waiting to see if this relatively new team is going to follow up on the progress made by both the Clinton and the George W. Bush Administrations in building a real friendship between the two democratic giants. The one area in which there seems to be movement on, though, is a “renewable energy partnership”.If the US has a serious medium-term need for a very large new source of clean energy, India needs it even more.From India’s standpoint the government does take the energy problem very seriously. While they connect it with the question of climate change, they have made it clear that they are not willing to inflict economic pain on their people in order to appease those in the West who are demanding that they cease their current drive to climb out of mass poverty in the name of the environment. Former External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made this clear when he spoke at the Asia Society in New York last year and said, “It is therefore completely one sided to target countries like India, whose emissions though modest are rising, but fail to bring to account those who have been responsible for more than 70% of the accumulated emissions in the atmosphere.”Recognizing the potential weakness of a case based strictly on the question of climate change, Mukherjee was wise enough to add that “even if there were no climate change arguments, considerations of energy security alone would require a medium to long term strategy of implementing a strategic shift from fossil fuels to non fossil fuels.” He called for a “major R&D effort to develop applications that that can provide convenient, cost effective large scale applications of solar energy.”Any analysis of the potential of terrestrial solar energy in India or elsewhere runs up against the awesome size of the future demand for power. Photovoltaic panels on rooftops and solar water heaters all make excellent small-scale contributions to the solution, but they cannot by any stretch of the imagination fulfill the requirements of a huge growing economy like India’s. Only SSP, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year, can hope to meet this need. Fortunately both India and the US have space programs and technologies that could, if developed together and possibly with other interested nations such as Japan, bring SSP systems into service sometime late next decade or the early 2020s. With its commitment to develop a new low cost reusable spaceplane, the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is already working on one of the key technologies needed for an SSP system. Indian participation in both private and public SSP programs should be welcomed by the US. Ehe US government should make an effort to facilitate this by helping with visas and work permits for qualified Indian scientists and engineers. Recent moves towards reforming the notorious International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) should include ensuring that SSP systems are covered by the Department of Commerce regulators rather than by the State Department, which has gained such a sorry reputation in this area.Safe, clean, abundant energy from the Sun is not an impossible dream.In the near term the new Indo-US renewable energy partnership would seem to be the right place to start this collaboration. Together the partners can identify what will be needed in the way of technological and scientific investments over the next decade in order to make SSP a reality. India has lots of talent that can be committed to this effort and so does the US. In fact, the kind of ambitious idealism that we saw at NASA during the Apollo years could be engendered by this goal.
India’s developments in space will allow it to gain crucial soft power assets. AjeyLele, October 5, 2009, “Space Technology and Soft-Power: A Chinese Lesson for India”, Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses, http://www.idsa.in/idsastrategiccomments/SpaceTechnologyandSoft-Power_ALele_051009 However, China has also been quietly making investments in some non-military fields with a view to engaging other nations. Space Technology is one area where China is engaging developing nations by providing them assistance to either develop their space programme or to launch satellites on their behalf. It is in this regard that India can look at the ‘China model’ for inspiration and start an effort towards connecting with other states.India has a robust space programme and has made some significant progress in this field. A case in point is the recent finding of water on the surface on the moon by Chandrayan 1, which has helped the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to demonstrate the country’s leadership in the field of science and technology. ISRO could even send a human being to the moon within a few years. What isequally important is for India to use the space programme as a tool for increasing its international influence. This is where India can take a leaf out of the Chinese book. India is already working with a few international partners like NASA, but such partnerships are more from the point of view of technology collaboration. Such collaborations are a must in fields like going to the Moon and Mars. But at the same time there is a need to engage other countries who are novices in this field. Today, there are many countries in the world who wish to collaborate with India in the space arena. India should engage with these countries in their space projects at various levels. Indirectly, this could offer India a form of ‘security’ that is beyond tanks, fighter jets and nuclear deterrence. It would help India increase its influence over other states through non-military means. This is what “Soft-Power” is all about. A term coined by Joseph Nye of Harvard University, Soft-Power could be defined as the ability of a state to get what it wants by attracting and persuading others to adopt its goals. India’s success in space is attracting others to emulate it. This is an opportunity that India should not waste. And this opportunity goes much beyond India’s existing commercial space policy. For the last few years China is using its space industry to extend its Soft-Power. It is establishing linkages in the space arena with countries in Africa and South America, including Nigeria, Venezuela, and Brazil. China’s ultimate objectives are the natural resources and markets in these parts of the world. China is talking its friendship with Pakistan to a higher plane by helping the latter in the space field as well. It signed an agreement with Pakistan a fortnight back, granting a $200 million loan for satellite construction. China has also promised Bolivia help in developing its space programme within three years and in the launch of its first satellite. It has also been reported that China would be building and launching a communications satellite for Laos. China is strategically positioning itself as a focal point for all space-related activities, from providing financial assistance to manufacturing, and launching facilities for states in Asia, Africa and South America. This approach has multiple benefits – an increase in China’s global footprint, flow of benefits to the Chinese space industry, experimentation with new technologies, and win friends. International politics is thus more than the mere acquisition and use of “Hard-Power”. This is what India needs to learn from the Chinese example of collaboration in the space arena. India has a technologically superior and an economically affordable space programme. The growth of its commercial space sector is commendable. Many courtiers are depending on India for launching their satellites. It is essential that India begins to engage space have-nots at a different level, beyond technological and commercial interests. There is a need to influence states for political and strategic purposes by using space technology as a tool. India should steadily and subtly use its ‘space acumen’ to extend its Soft-Power status on earth. Now is key - recent setbacks require India to have space success to fix its international prestige. Seema Singh, April 19, 2011, “ISRO’s Dead End in Space”, Forbes Business, http://business.in.com/article/real-issue/isros-dead-end-in-space/24132/1
ISRO can hardly afford to get mired in organisational hiccups when the space race is heating up. China has made rapid strides in the last five years, putting a man in space. Advanced nations are moving in to colonise space and use it for their strategic advantage. For India to remain in this game, ISRO must buckle up and perform quickly.