India And Space war
The space age began with the launch of Sputnik by Soviet Union in 1959. Thereafter United States and the Soviet Union first began exploring space for military purposes.
Those were the days of cold war, when both nations were hell bent of inventing news ways to fight the war. Projects such as Star-wars were proposed where the concept was to be able to fire missiles from space.
US, Russia,China and a few European countries have dedicated spy satellites in orbit to keep an eye on the enemy. Reconnaissance satellites are being used by militaries to take accurate pictures of their rivals’ military installations.
India’s space endeavors began for civilian use. First satellites were developed for the purpose of weather forecast, telecommunications and remote sensing. It was only in the mid-1980s that technology from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 was employed in the Agni ballistic missile.
After the USA and Russia, China too destroyed one of its own weather satellites, the FengYun-1C (FY-1C), in 2007. These tests demonstrated the space war capabilities of these three countries. Since then India too has been working on such cutting edge technologies.
India sent a clear signal by conducting ASAT test in March that it is ready for space warfare, if that’s where the global military superpowers are looking at. The message was loud and clear that If the world is heading towards the militarisation of space, then India would not be left behind. By showcasing the capability to physically destroy satellites in orbit and the decision to set up a Defence Space Agency (DSA), India has made a statement of sorts that it is ready for the future.
Within hours of its test, the Indian government released a “Frequently Asked Questions” web page that explained why it had done an actual intercept instead of less destructive tests. The FAQ also went to great lengths to rationalise how the test did not change India’s position on preventing an arms race in outer space.
March’s anti-satellite (A-SAT) test is the first visible sign that India is on the road to acquire counter-space capability. The newly instituted DSA will be supported by a defence space research organisation (DSRO) that should create weapons to “deny, degrade, disrupt, destroy or deceive an adversary’s space capability”.
How India will go from here remains to be seen. Next step should be putting first of the Gagan Yatris into space followed by having a permanent space station in orbit. Then developing reusable launch vehicles, with ability to launch satellites as and when required by the Space Command. Bases on Chandrama and Mangal should come up in in the future which should not be very far.