A Promising Meeting Between Musk And Modi On Space

Todd Moses
April 21, 2024

Last month, India cut import taxes on electric vehicles (EVs) for global carmakers, which committed to investing $500m (£399m) and starting local production within three years.

Inputs that matter: Tesla CEO Elon Musk will visit India next week, following discussions India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had with Nvidia's Jensen Huang, Apple's Tim Cook and Alphabet's Sundar Pichai last year.

  • Tensions between Washington and Beijing have also pushed U.S. conglomerates to diversify their manufacturing bases to countries including India to avoid disruptions from any potential conflict.

The opportunity: According to Reuters, SpaceX is building hundreds of spy satellites under its Starshield division as part of a $ 1.8 billion classified contract.

  • SpaceX and Northrop Grumman occasionally conduct classified payload missions to space. The latest, NROL-174, is scheduled to launch later this month.
  • Musk, who will meet Modi during this visit to India, is expected to make several significant announcements, including the launch of Starlink and investments of over $2 billion in India.
  • The government has invited the founders of space startups Agnikul Cosmos, Bellatrix Aerospace, Skyroot Aerospace, Dhruva Space, Pixxel, SatSure, and Digantara to meet Elon Musk in New Delhi on Monday.

Zoom in: In 2023, India became the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the Moon successfully.

  • Gen. Stephen Whiting of the U.S. Space Command said, "Frankly, China is moving at a breathtaking speed"
  • "Since 2018, China has tripled their on-orbit intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance satellites."
  • "And with these systems, they've built a kill web over the Pacific Ocean to find, fix, track and, yes, target United States and allied military capabilities."

Between the lines: "The story of Apple, such a marquee name, has worked in Modi's favor – not only has it helped the economy, but it has also given him political swagger," said Pravin Krishna, Chung Ju Yung distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University.

  • Gurbir Singh, author of The Indian Space Program: India's Incredible Journey from the Third World towards the First, explains, "Similar programs have influenced the Moon mission and many other ISRO space programs in China."

Follow the money: DefenseNews reports, "India plans to spend about $3 billion on space-related contract awards over the next few years to reduce its dependence on foreign satellites and bolster its counter-space capabilities."

  • The reason for India's move into space is "space situational awareness."
  • SpaceNews reports, "The European Space Agency, impressed with India's growing space capabilities, is exploring opportunities for enhanced cooperation in space activities."

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Read More

  1. https://carboncredits.com/pm-narendra-modi-and-elon-musk-to-announce-historic-ev-deal/
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2024/04/18/cnbc-inside-india-musk-and-modi.html
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c4n1ldx5klwo
  4. https://qz.com/tesla-ev-elon-musk-meeting-india-narendra-modi-1851403136
  5. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-04-16/musk-expected-to-meet-with-space-startups-during-india-visit?embedded-checkout=true
  6. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ahead-of-elon-musks-visit-to-india-centre-notifies-new-fdi-limit-in-space-sector/articleshow/109383023.cms
  7. https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/business/money-report/u-s-tech-ceos-give-india-pm-modi-boost-ahead-of-election/3514171/
  8. https://www.planetary.org/articles/history-motivations-indias-space-program
  9. https://www.the-sun.com/tech/11136377/spacex-spy-satellites-us-china/
  10. https://banananomics.co/weaponizing_space
  11. https://banananomics.co/the_world_takes_sides