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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Time for a joint space exercise

 Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance(India-US relations), space programmes etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, Significance of Indo-Pacific for India etc

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • India and the S. will undertake joint military drills in Auli Uttarakhand, located at an altitude of 10,000 feet and some 95 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

 

 

Context

India-US Relations:

  • India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a “global strategic partnership.
  • Relationship is based on:
    • Shared democratic values
    • Increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues.

 

Areas of Cooperation:

 

 

Space Military Exercise:

  • It is to evaluate the military’s ability to defend satellites and other defense equipment from an attack.

 

Space Military Initiatives by India:

  • IndSpaceEx(first space warfare exercise)
  • Mission Shakti(Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test
  • Tri-service Defense Space Agency (DSA)
  • Defense Space Research Agency (DSRA)

 

Advantages for Space Military Exercises for India:

  • It will push India’s defense partnership into a new orbit.
  • It will send a strong message to a common adversary.
  • It will have other ripple effects for the wider Quad.

 

Issues Involved:

  • It will provoke our eastern neighbour and compel them to draw a new redline.
  • Our eastern neighbour will use our western neighbour as a proxy state.
  • It will derail the ongoing Core Commanders dialogue in Ladakh.
  • The United States cannot be trusted totally.
  • It will fastback militarisation for space.

 

Related Space programmes by other countries:

  • France: conducted its first space military exercise, ASTERX, in 2021.
  • China: It is marching ahead to the Cis-Lunar space (region beyond the geosynchronous orbit) to establish a permanent presence on the Moon by 2024.

 

Way Forward

  • Joint anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test: It is essentially a missile launched from the Earth’s surface to destroy a satellite passing overhead.
    • Both countries have demonstrated capability in this.
  • Other space Collaborations: Eventually, this will lead to other space military collaborations such as directed energy weapons, rendezvous and proximity operations (RPOs), co-orbital ASATs (in space micro satellites as a kinetic kill option), etc.
  • Rules for space: China and Russia have released a draft binding treaty of their own.
    • Red lines and norms will eventually emerge but until then it provides an ideal new theater to push Indo-U.S. military collaboration forward.
  • Bedrock of modern economy: Space has assets that form the bedrock of the modern economy-GPS (PNT-position navigation timing), telecom networks, early warning systems for missiles and weather forecasts all are enabled by our satellites in GEO or LEO orbits.
  • Doctrines, technologies and deterrence: Changing times now require us to innovate on doctrines, technologies and deterrence. Example: Xi Jinping is on his way to building a “world-class” Chinese military by 2049.
  • Alliance of alliances: If India is to become a space power and if the Indo-U.S. partnership is to become the alliance of alliances, then imaginative steps will be needed.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development?(UPSC 2016)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)