Published On: Sat, Apr 27th, 2019

India set to invest €200 million in Galileo – the system Britain is LOCKED OUT OF | World | News

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Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi’s India is set to invest in Galileo (Image: GETTY)

However, no decision has been taken about whether India will have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), an encrypted service for public authorities for “security sensitive use”. A report on the Indian news website the Business Standard suggested the country’s Government was ready to invest €200million. It quoted a “European Commission official” as saying: “The Indian government is expected to take a final decision on its equity contribution for the project by June.”

The official said it was not yet clear whether India would be able to access the PRS.

Officials said it was not clear if India would have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), which was vital for certain commercial applications.

The official added: “Once, it is sorted out, a decision will be conveyed at the earliest.”

A European Commission spokeswoman did not dispute the accuracy of the report, but told it was important to distinguish between two things.


A Galileo satellite is launched on an Ariane rocket (Image: GETTY)

She said: “First, it is possible for third countries to access the Public Regulated Service signal (‘user segment’), subject to certain preconditions.

“It is for the Council to decide whether the conditions to do so are met at the end of the negotiating process. The Council adopted negotiating mandates with US and Norway in July 2016.

She added: “Second, there are security-related restrictions for third countries when it comes to accessing information related to the evolution of Galileo, and in particular, procurement.

“Third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.


India is set to pump £170 million into the EU’s Galileo project (Image: GETTY)

“Those rules do not prevent a third country from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the third country are in place as stated above.”

Dr Stuart Eves, an independent consultant who was previously Lead Mission Concepts Engineer for Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, told he would “not be greatly surprised” if India had decided to invest in Galileo.

He added: “The UK’s departure from the Galileo programme creates a hole that this engagement with India may be designed to fill.

“The Indians have a regional navigation system based on GEO satellites called IRNSS.

“Historically there was proposed Chinese involvement in Galileo, but they were subsequently excluded.”

The bitter row over Britain’s contribution to Galileo has been raging for more than a year.

In March 2018, the Commission confirmed the UK was likely to excluded from some aspects of the project, especially relating to PRS.

In August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the Government was to spend £92 million on a feasibility study to consider the development of a British rival system.


Galileo is a major talking point in the Brexit debate (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the BBC, UK Space Agency boss Graham Turnock said: “If we want to build our own system now we’d benefit from a lot of learning and we have a simpler project to deliver because it would not be a project that is being managed by 28 separate member states.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do.

“It’s perfectly within our capability on the basis of the initial analysis we have made.”

Andrew Stroomer, business development director with Airbus Defence and Space, told in October: “We would like Galileo to continue with the participation of the UK.

“But if you look at Galileo, the UK has contributed some of the most complicated parts of that.

“We don’t do everything – but we do enough to show we are capable of building such a system for the UK. From an industry point of view, we have the capability.”

Just before the end of the year, Mrs May said the UK would no longer be seeking to reclaim the €1.4billion (£1.2billion) spent so far on the project, prompting the resignation of Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Meanwhile India signalled its interest in the space sector in November by launching a rocket carrying 31 hi-tech satellites, prompted UK critics to ask why Britain STILL pays the country almost £100million a year in emergency foreign aid.

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