Bengaluru: India will open up its space sector to private Indian entities and also encourage foreign direct investment. It will also allow foreign companies to set up facilities in the country, as reported by Times of India. 

"We are going on full steam now. Foreign firms can set up facilities to make satellites and launch vehicles here, set up ground stations and use our spaceports as long as they invest here through FDI,” K Sivan, secretary, DoS, quotes ToI. 

"While policies will enable this, decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis, given how sensitive the space sector is. National security and interest will be priority, and firms will be required to give undertakings on following all guidelines we lay down,” he added.

On partnerships with foreign satellite companies, Sivan said Indian companies can tie up with foreign firms. “For instance, our (Indian) firms can have 60% investment and foreign firms can invest 40% through FDI. But the modalities need to be worked out,” Sivan said.

While stating that the department would give more clarity once IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) is completely operational and the other policies in the pipeline are ready to be rolled out, Sivan said many companies have shown interest in the sector.

In fact, the newly formed IN-SPACe is already reviewing multiple applications, including one each from UK-based OneWeb, a stake in which is owned by Bharti Enterprises, and Norway-headquartered KSAT, a global telecommunications service provider.

Norway firm wants to set up ground stations in India: Sivan
Sivan said Airtel had sought the department’s support in establishing ground stations. “We are reviewing this and there are many more applications that have been received. One major foreign firm is KSAT from Norway, which as part of its worldwide network, wants to set up ground stations in India,” he said.

As reported by TOI, industrialist Sunil Bharti Mittal had in August said the firm was keen on partnering with Isro to leverage OneWeb’s constellation. 

“OneWeb will have the world’s first large constellation in LEO (low Earth orbit). We will have 648 satellites covering the world, and testing will begin next year. We desire to get landing rights (permission to use satellites in India) here and we’ve identified areas in north, south and west for ground stations to start delivering services when constellation is complete,” Mittal said.