Ex-ISRO Chief Calls China's A-SAT a Cause for Worry

New Delhi
Ex-ISRO Chief Calls China's A-SAT a Cause for Worry
Former ISRO chief Dr K Kasturirangan today said China's military capabilities in space, as demonstrated in 2007 by destroying a satellite, was a cause for worry for India.

"Obviously we start worrying. We cannot overlook this aspect," Kasturirangan said, referring to China's Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) capabilities, after releasing an Institute of Defence and Strategic Analyses (IDSA) report on 'Space Security'.

"China's A-SAT capabilities displayed a few years ago was to show to the world that they too can do it. That China can do what it wants to do and demonstrate that it can do even more...To supersede the best of the world, that is the US," he said.

He said such a threat to India's satellites from the neighbourhood certainly called for an immediate enhancement of our capabilities to ensure safety and security of the space assets, as also putting them for military use.

"India has spent a huge sum to develop its capabilities and place assets in space. Hence, it becomes necessary to protect them from adversaries. There is a need to look at means of securing these," he said.

Noting that India had done well in civilian aspects of space technology, Kasturirangan said the country needed to put the assets to good use, as it strengthened war fighting capabilities of the armed forces.

Kasturirangan said the space assets provided "a multiplier effect" when integrated with the war fighting system of the armed forces.

"The situation has come when we cannot ignore the demands (of space in military applications). We need to have necessary security apparatus to deal with the threats to our space assets," he said.

Referring to United Nations' Conventions relating to space, the former ISRO chief said it did not prevent "militarisation" of space, as opposed to "weaponisation".

He called for the government to formulate a policy to deal with the whole gamut of space security issues, set up an institutional framework to handle them, put all technology required for the purpose in place, and create operational capabilities to integrate both civilian and military structures for leveraging space capabilities.

"Space security is a very critical issue to be addressed at the policy-makers level," he added.

Describing the US as the "indisputable leader" in space as of today, the former ISRO chief said Russia, China and Europe came in at the second rung of the space super league.

He placed India in the third rung along side Japan and Israel and said these three nations had the potential to get into the second tier of the space powers.

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