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Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari has said the traditional boundaries of the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains are increasingly becoming “blurred”, bringing about a “paradigm shift” in war fighting.

In a recorded video address that was played at the inaugural session of the three-day Indian Defence Space Symposium here on Friday, the IAF chief also said in order to “maintain our strategic autonomy”, capabilities must be developed that would be necessary to “defend our interests in space”.

In his address, the air chief marshal underlined that with a massive surge of new technologies and opening up of space to private players, there is a “disruption in the established scheme of things”.

“New possibilities based on audacious financing are introducing new perspectives for innovative solutions and low-cost access to outer space,” he said.

However, with these new possibilities, “new threats” are also coming to the fore, the IAF chief added.

“We are seeing the democratisation of space with increased private sector involvement. Civilian space travel, a dream 25 years ago, is a reality today,” he said.

Domain experts, senior officials from the armed forces and representatives of the space sector industry are taking part in the symposium that is being held from April 18 to April 20 at the Manekshaw Centre here.

“With growing exploitation of space by private players and the military, space has definitely become the ultimate high ground,” he said.

“The traditional boundaries of the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains are increasingly becoming blurred, bringing about a paradigm shift in war fighting. I feel, in order for us to maintain our strategic autonomy, we must develop capabilities that would be necessary to defend our interests in space and guarantee not only the freedom of access but also the freedom of action,” he asserted.

The IAF chief said to “achieve our full potential in space”, there is a requirement for greater public-private participation and interaction among all the stakeholders, including the armed forces.While the National Space Policy 2023 is in the “right direction” and will give a definitive impetus to “aatmanirbharata” (self-reliance), “we will need to work together and create a robust, thriving and vibrant space ecosystem in India,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said.