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Air and Space Laws in India | Abhishek Sharma | New Delhi Cables

Air and Space Laws in India | Abhishek Sharma | New Delhi Cables Air and space law is a comparatively recent Law specialisation ...

Air and Space Laws in India | Abhishek Sharma | New Delhi Cables
Air and space law is a comparatively recent Law specialisation and is known to be a niche and a complex subject. Air and space law comprises security and safety laws, environment, air route structures, liability issues and bilateral air agreements in the framework of entirety. 
India's recent successes with Chandrayan 3 and Aditya LI solar probe have position it alongside major space-faring nations such as US and Russia. Yet India lacks its own space laws. The government has been encouraging private participation in the country's explorations beyond the earth. To that end, the government in 2020 created the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN- SPACe). But a lack of legal framework hampers progress.
India is a signatory to all major International Space Treaties, including the Outer Space Treaty, the Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention, the Registration Convention-already rectified by India -and the Moon treaty. Moreover countries like Canada,Germany, South Africa,Netherlands and Ukraine, despite not being space technology giants have established well-defined laws for space activities. 
India's efforts towards having its own space laws stem for its objective of facilitating private sector participation in the space economy. This also furthers India's International Treaty obligations and brings it closer to other countries that also have statutory frameworks.

Indian Space Policy
The government sought to address the legislative gap by introducing the Indian Space Policy of 2023. Still, there are some inconsistencies. According to the policy, non-government entities have been allowed to own, transport,use and sell asteroid or space sources required in compliance with relevant laws. 
The policy has also entrusted IN-SPACe with establishing a stable statutory structure to provide fairness to non-governmental entities. It is also a single-window clearance agency for space activities. But the policy document does not provide adequate clarity on space powers of IN-SPACe. the policy also puts forth ISRO's shift away from manufacturing operational space systems towards Research and adding to aspects of national interest.
New Space India Limited, a Public Sector Unit established in 2019 under the department of space and serving as ISRO's commercial arm will manage the manufacturing and operational aspects.
Other policies that define Indian space law include the Satellite Communication Policy(Satcom) of 1997, which emphasized satellite communication, development, launch capabilities and private investment in the space industry but was found to be insufficient. 
Remote Data Sensing Policy of 2011 allowed the transfer of high-resolution Imaging Services while safeguarding sensitive defence information. Thus, a robust holistic and unambiguous space law would create the required framework for the private sector in India to participate and exponentially add to ISRO's incredible achievements.
[Abhishek Sharma - The Author has been  researching on Air and Space Law & He is also a government Teacher under Delhi Government]

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