Celestial Endeavors: Asian Development Bank's Potential Investment in India's Space Sector

By Ritwik Ghosh,Kolkata India

Celestial Endeavors: Asian Development Bank's Potential Investment in India's Space Sector

Amidst the realm of financial prospects, the Asian Development Bank unveils a willingness to invest in India’s celestial endeavors, as conveyed by its Vice President, Bhargav Dasgupta. This commitment extends beyond the ambit of traditional financing, with a pronounced focus on climate initiatives aimed at mitigating associated hazards.

While the Asian Development Bank has hitherto abstained from direct involvement in India’s aerospace domain, it has actively spearheaded satellite projects within the Asia Pacific expanse. Addressing queries from the press, Dasgupta articulated, “Our engagements have remained scant thus far. However, we remain receptive to exploring novel domains… acknowledging the recent liberalization and burgeoning entrepreneurial fervor… Should there be a convergence with our Sustainable Development Goals, we shall earnestly consider participation.”

Established in 1966, the Asian Development Bank boasts a consortium of 68 stakeholders, with India being a seminal contributor since inception. The institution remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable trajectory for Asia and the Pacific, underscored by its unwavering campaign against entrenched poverty.

India’s stature within the bank has burgeoned over the years, now ranking as its fourth-largest shareholder and foremost beneficiary since 2010. This announcement follows closely on the heels of the Indian government’s pivotal decision to liberalize Foreign Direct Investment policies for spacetech enterprises, permitting up to 100% FDI through automatic channels for select segments within the space domain.

In recent months, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) unveiled operational guidelines aligned with the Indian Space Policy 2023, delineating requisite protocols for space-related ventures within the nation’s purview. These guidelines elucidate the procedural requisites and stipulations imperative for securing IN-SPACe’s endorsement, thus streamlining regulatory oversight in the burgeoning sector.

The government’s strategic initiatives in 2020, heralding the entry of private entities into the space industry and the concurrent establishment of IN-SPACe, have paved the way for transformative growth. The titled ‘Indian Spacetech Startup Landscape and Market Opportunity, 2023’ underscores the sector’s robust trajectory, with over 150 spacetech startups securing in excess of $285 million in funding between 2014 and 2023.

Ventures in the spacetech arena have garnered substantive backing from a diverse array of stakeholders, including Pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, and Peak XV (formerly Sequoia India and SEA), underscoring the sector’s burgeoning appeal. Strategic imperatives, such as cost-effective innovation and strategic collaborations with over 65 nations and multilateral bodies, have further catalyzed the sector’s ascendancy.

Furthermore, recent policy pronouncements encompassing the Space Communication Policy, Space Remote Sensing Policy, and the Indian Space Policy of 2023, epitomize the government’s steadfast commitment to bolstering technological accessibility and fostering private sector integration, thus propelling the sector towards unprecedented growth.


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