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China’s antisatellite programme galvanizes Indian efforts

New Delhi, India, 09 April 2007: India has begun design and development work on an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in response to China’s test of a similar weapon, and revived plans to link all of its military satellites and related ground systems.

Indian Defence Ministry sources said the January test shocked India into hastening efforts to defend its satellites, including military and civilian communication systems. Of particular worry is that China has in the past supplied missile technology to India’s nuclear adversary, Pakistan.

No details of the ASAT weapon program are known, but sources confirmed that the program is under way in cooperation with the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Indian Space Research Organisation and research institutes.

A Defence Ministry official said India does not have a militarized space program. Sources in the ministry said space-based options must be used to protect national security, and that space programs should shift from force support missions, such as observation, navigation and communication, to space-control efforts. But it could be said that dual-use technology permits the state to use space for communication and reconnaissance, said Ajay Lele, a defense analyst from the Institute of Defence Studies.