First Space Exercise To Pave The Way For Creation Of A Tri Service Space Command
Today several countries have the ability to wage war from space, into space and in space itself. Keeping this in mind General Hardev Singh Lidder, CISC, had insisted in 2006 to create a Tri Service Space Division under the HQ IDS.
This Division took steps to ensure no adversary’s counter-space weapons was able to take out India’s assets critical for its economic and social infrastructure. That any action by any enemy to “blind and deafen” the Indian armed forces by destroying or jamming satellites vital for surveillance, communication, missile early-warning and precision-targeting would be countered and reciprocated. For this both defensive and offensive capabilities were required to be developed.
India for long has had an expansive civilian space programme, as was once again demonstrated by the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-2 mission on Monday. However military use of space by India was till date restricted to just intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication and navigation.
Now the Indian armed forces for the first time are all set to conduct the country’s first-ever simulated space warfare exercise this week, which will lead to an assessment of the “imminent threats” in the expanse beyond earth and the drafting of a joint space doctrine for futuristic battles.
The tri-Service integrated defence staff (IDS) under the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee will be conducting the two-day “IndSpaceEx”, through its newly expanded Defence Space Agency with all military and scientific stakeholders. This exercise will be in the backdrop of USA, Russia and China’s rapidly expanding space and counter-space capabilities.
There is the need to explore effective tactical, operational and strategic exploitation of the final frontier of warfare. We cannot keep twiddling our thumbs while China zooms ahead. Presently We cannot match asset by asset but must have the capabilities to protect our space assets from any attack from China.
With China developing a wide array of A-Sat weapons, both kinetic in the shape of co-orbital killer satellites and direct ascent missiles as well as non-kinetic ones like lasers and electro-magnetic pulse weapons, India has no option but to develop deterrence capabilities to ensure no adversary can threaten its assets in outer-space.
“PM Narendra Modi said the A-Sat test in March was conducted to make India stronger and more secure as well as further peace and harmony. In line with this vision, IndSpaceEx is being conducted to identify key challenges and shortfalls if a conflict escalates to the space dimension. A leading IIT has also been engaged to work on the potential solutions,” said a senior IDS official.
The A-Sat test as well as the recent approval for the tri-Service Defence Space Agency, signifies the crossing of that self-imposed threshold for developing offensive space capabilities. Once this exercise is over and an assessment made, it may pave the way for creation of a full fledged tri service Space Command.