On the 10th of August 2022, Luxembourg’s ambassador to India, Her Excellency, Peggy Frantzen and the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation Shri S Somnath have held discussions in the city of Bangalore regarding areas of collaboration in space sector. Both the dignitaries had paid a visit to the URSC (U Rao Satellite Center). Apart from the former two, Additional Secretary in the Department of Space (DoS) Sandhya Venugopal Sharma had URSC director M Sankaran were also present.
Prior to this meeting and discussion, S Somnath who is also the Secretary in the Department of Space, had signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Luxembourg Space Agency on the 25th of February 2022. The Reforms regarding the space sector by the GoI (Government of India) were also part of the discussions.
The official relations between India and Luxembourg began in the year 1948. India and Luxembourg have an ongoing space cooperation in the field of Satellite Broadcasting and Communications. Luxembourg based space agencies have also utilised ISRO facilities to send their satellites into space. On 7th November 2020, ISRO launched the PSLV-C49 Mission that included launch of four satellites from Luxembourg. Use of the outer space for exploration and peaceful purposes is a cooperation measure between the two countries. Digitisation is being promoted through” Digital India” and “Digital Luxembourg” initiatives.
Luxembourg has 60 companies both private and public involved in the space sector. There has been a joint venture between SES (Luxembourg Company) and Reliance Jio to develop and strengthen broadband services. In 2013, ISRO launched three nano satellites which included one from Luxembourg.
The SES (Société Européenne de Satellites) is a strong partner for ISRO and is operating a total of five satellites over India. The University of Luxembourg has created a course named “Masters in Space Program” In accordance with Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) which attracts several Indian Students for a bright career in space science.
The European Space Resources Innovation Center in Luxembourg shall act as a launch-pad for Indian start-ups, In Addition, “Fit4 Start” an accelerator program, has attracted Indian Start-ups especially in the Space Sector.
Lastly, cordial relations between India and Luxembourg will help in enhancing India’s bonds and ties with the European Union (EU). Although there are independent relations between EU and India, an indirect approach is always helpful. Apart from the Space sector, India and Luxembourg are strong partners in steel, finance, automotive, trade and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies.)