In the last episode of Doctor Who (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship) we see the ISA launching missiles at a spaceship on a collision course with the Earth. It's the year 2367.

At first I thought that ISA stood for "International Space Agency", but seeing that everyone there was Indian, it seems that it stands for "Indian Space Agency". This would imply that India became a global super power in the 24th century seeing as they are in charge of global defense and not the Americans.

Am I correct in my assumptions?

Also are there any previous references to India becoming a super power in that timeframe in previous episodes? (maybe from the old Doctor Who series - which I haven't seen)

  • 6
    It's definitely the Indian Space Agency. You can see the full name written out after the woman in charge terminates communications with The Doctor. Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 1:28
  • @BobWarwick Ah! I didn't notice that!
    – Paul T.
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 1:39

2 Answers 2


Yes, in this particular future, the Indian Space Agency, presumably a world-class superpower is charged with protecting the human race from space-borne threats. Almost every scene showing the agency is completely staffed with Indians.

  • The history of the future (a curious statement in and of itself) is mutable in Doctor Who. We are taken through periods of time and often find contradictory information (or at least incomplete information) given the circumstances the Doctor finds himself involved in.

  • I am also inclined to believe there is more than one future branching outward from the past and the TARDIS moves through all of them with an intuitive understanding of where and when it is in time.

  • Given the Doctor's apparent knowledge of many of the places he goes in time, it leads me to believe there are places he enjoys spending time and makes an effort to "bookmark" them as it were, so he may return in whatever he deems a timely fashion. These points in the time-stream must remain some level of constancy, or he could not return to them, nor would the people remember him.

  • There are points of the future which remain constant such as the Time War which the Doctor makes great effort to steer clear of. He also tends to avoid other fixed points in time, since he is aware his ability to change or affect those is limited. Sometimes future adventures incorporate information we have seen in the past, and other episodes completely contradict previous information.

  • The Indian Space Agency may not be the only space agency in the year 2367 but it may be the most prominent at the moment, in that particular sliver of time we get to see this particular segment of humanity.

  • What I find most interesting about Doctor Who is its willingness to occasionally deviate from the expected norms and create what might be considered "alternative future" where the unexpected becomes the norm.

  • Good answer, but the only nitpicking I have is that he cannot interfere with or go to the Time War, he doesn't need to actively avoid it as it is simply impossible to be interacted with due to the nature of The Moment.
    – ardent
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 8:16
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    Agreed, but I noticed he doesn't even go anywhere NEAR the event, subconsciously or not, making no effort to interact with it or any events leading to it. (Considering his part in the Time War, it makes good sense to give it a wide berth, just to be cautious.) Now given that the TARDIS does more of the driving than the Doctor likes to admit, one has to wonder what her motivations are when She moves him through time to a place he DIDN'T choose to go. Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 8:19
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    Additionally, I think it is probably important that India is the superpower he interacts with, for the series as a whole, but it could have been anywhere. I think the main reason was to make it not the US or Russia. India is a viable possibility. Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 10:47
  • +1 for the 'bookmarks' analogy. You can often find specific times that the Doctor is fond of returned to, like the 51st century (Captain Jack, Crash of the Byzantium, Girl in the Fireplace). It's a good idea, narrative-wise, since it lets the writers return to familiar places and characters instead of getting lost in the infinite time and space that TARDIS-travel entails. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 8:04

Another alternative is that the Indian Space Agency is just one of a number of space-faring powers on Earth at that time, and they happened to be the one on the duty station to address immediate incoming threats. Who knows what's supposed to be world governance at that time? Perhaps it's a rotating responsibility over emergency problems, where there's no time to call a UN ad hoc committee to debate over the matter.

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