US Wary of China, Seeks Deeper Ties With India in Space Sector

New Delhi
US Wary of China, Seeks Deeper Ties With India in Space Sector

Expressing concern over China developing "disruptive and destructive" counter-space capabilities, US today sought deeper cooperation with India ahead of the first Indo-US Space Security Dialogue here.

Underlining that threats to space services are increasing as potential adversaries pursue disruptive and destructive counter-space capabilities Frank Rose, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said his country has a comprehensive strategy to deal with it.

He said that Chinese military writings highlight the need to interfere with, damage and destroy reconnaissance navigation and communication satellites.

"China has satellite-jamming capabilities and is pursuing a full suite of anti-satellite systems," Rose said in his talk at the Observer Research Foundation.

Noting that both the US and China have an interest in maintaining long-term sustainability of space environment, he said, "Let me also be very clear, the US remains concerned about China's continued development and testing of anti- satellite weapons. Period".

He said China was moving forward with the development of full spectrum capability and had conducted destructive satellite test (A-SAT) in 2007 and a non-destructive test on July 23, 2014.

Rose said China sees space as an area of vulnerability and Beijing's view is that by denying the US access to space, it can deny America certain advantage.

"The US has a comprehensive strategy to deal with that threat, which includes developing rules of the world for use of outer-space and also making our system more resilient.

"Let me also be clear that the US views space, as articulated in our 2010 National Space Policy, as vital to our national security. We will defend our capabilities," he said.

The senior American official underlined that this does not necessarily mean the US is going to attack Chinese space systems, "but we will respond appropriately".

Rose, who is here for the first India-US Space Security Dialogue on Monday, said that given the threat and risks, he believes that one of the most obvious and most beneficial areas of cooperation between the two countries is in the establishment of rules of the road for outer-space activities.

He said that the US and India are strong believers in transparency and rules-based on international laws and customs.

He read out portions of the declaration of friendship released during US President Barack Obama's visit this January, which mentions both countries' respect for "open, just sustainable and inclusive rules-based global order".

"India and US should work together to clearly and publicly define what behaviour the international community should find both acceptable and unacceptable," Rose said.

He said transparency and confidence-building measures, such as the proposed international code of conduct for outer- space activity, can contribute to everyone's awareness about space environment.

He said the international code is for refraining from any action which brings about direct or indirect damage to or destruction of space objects so as to minimise to the greatest extent possible the creation of space debris, in particular the long-term space debris.

Asked what specifically he expects from India, Rose said there is a full list of issues on the table but both countries have not come to any agreement as yet on what they might do.

"There are a number of things that the US is interested in (when it comes to) collaborating with India. For example, maritime domain awareness and improving space situational awareness capability", he said.

He underlined that while the US has an idea of the areas where it would like to cooperate with India, no agreement has been reached on moving forward.

"I think there are a lot of things that we can do together and I am hoping that this first dialogue will help us develop a framework for serious practical cooperation. And, also, how we can more effectively (work) together in multi-lateral forums," Rose said.

The US has said that the dialogue is on maintaining long- term security and sustainability of outer space environment, including space situational awareness and collision avoidance.

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