New Delhi, 9th October 2023.

The 2nd edition of the annual Indian Space Conclave organized by Indian Space Association kicked off in the capital today. The first day was dedicated to India-France collaboration in the space sector. The event was attended by representatives of the French and Indian space industry leaders, startups and government officials.

The event witnessed signing of a significant MoU between ISpA and GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association which is aimed to enhance the understanding of space industry capabilities and increase awareness of business opportunities in France and India. The collaboration will help foster sustainable growth, promote innovation and advocate adoption of new technologies in France and India space industries. The MoU will act as an extension to the already flourishing Indo-French relationship in the space sector and augment the individual and collective membership bases of the organizations through the benefit of greater international linkages for the members. As the interest towards space sector increases among students across the world, the partnership will also help facilitate academic and educational program exchanges between both organizations that encompass training at all levels.

The conclave is followed by a 3-day exhibition put up by 24 exhibitors from leading space startups and academic institutions showcasing their products and offerings. The exhibition was inaugurated by Thierry Mathou, Ambassador-Designate of France in India & Governor Shekhar Dutt, SM (Retd), Former Defence Secretary and Governor of Chhatisgarh.

In his opening remarks, Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt (Retd.), Director General of Indian Space Association said, “The dawn of a new era in space is upon us, where Indian private space industry will have a potential to play a pivotal role in every aspect of the space sector. This collaboration between public and private sectors promises to propel us to new heights, fostering innovation and driving progress like never before. In this journey, I must acknowledge the importance of our alliance with France, a crucial partner in our space exploration endeavors. France has been a steadfast friend, and today’s MoU with GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association, reaffirms our commitment to strengthening industry collaboration between our two nations. Together, we shall continue to push the boundaries of space exploration and unlock the limitless possibilities that await us.”

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, European Space Agencysaid, “India is on the cusp of achieving the milestone of sending human beings to space through its Gaganyaan mission. The convergence of French and Indian leadership underscores the profound significance of space exploration. Space is playing a pivotal role in the battle against climate change, it is evident that our shared future lies among the stars. As rovers continue to pave the way for future interplanetary journeys, we find ourselves at the threshold of limitless possibilities. By embracing the vision of a future where private industries seamlessly intertwine with every facet of the space sector, we can forge a path towards a boundless cosmic frontier.”

In his video address, S Somanath, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISROsaid, “The integration of private industries into every facet of the space sector marks a significant milestone, opening new frontiers and sparking innovation. I applaud ISpA for fostering an ecosystem that nurtures space startups, driving the growth of our space industry. This conference, with the active participation of both public and private stakeholders, will be a crucible for thought leadership. As we engage in profound discussions on sustainable development, disaster management, business domains, and geospatial policy, we recognize the transformative potential that the space sector holds for the betterment of humanity. Additionally, the imminent release of FDI rules will further incentivize foreign investments, propelling us towards even greater heights in our cosmic endeavors.”

On the occasion of signing the MoU with ISpA, Cédric Post, Deputy Director International, European and Commercial Affairs, GIFAS “As we embark on this exciting journey of collaboration between India and France in the realm of space exploration, we recognize the pivotal role that this partnership will play in shaping the future. The MoU signed with ISpA underscores our shared commitment to strengthening industry collaboration and fostering an environment of innovation, business development, and sound policy regulation. The convergence of public and private sectors is set to redefine the landscape of the space sector, and India and France are poised to lead this transformation. Private industries will soon permeate every aspect of space, unlocking new possibilities and driving progress like never before. Together, we look forward to pushing the boundaries of space exploration and charting a course for a brighter, more interconnected cosmic future.”

The Indo-French space collaboration has achieved significant milestones in recent years. Both nations have joined forces for India’s ambitious human spaceflight initiative named Gaganyaan, with France contributing to areas like space medicine and astronaut health as well as supplying CNES flight systems. Also, France’s participation in ISRO’s upcoming Venus mission in 2025 marks another significant leap, opening new avenues for international cooperation in space exploration.Both countries also pledged to enhance collaboration between their startup ecosystems, fostering innovation in the space sector.