News: India and the U.S. recently undertook joint military drills in October in Auli, Uttarakhand. Now, the time is ripe for the inaugural India-U.S. joint space military exercise.
GS Paper 3 : Security Challenges.
Military Space programmes all over the world: Every country worth its weight in salt is working on the military aspects of space.
- Under the Department of the Air Force U.S. inaugurated its independent space force branch.
- ASTERX was France’s first space military exercise.
- Cis-Lunar space (region beyond the geosynchronous orbit) is China ‘s project to establish a permanent presence on the Moon by 2024.
- Evolution of Space doctrine countries are laying down rules and norms. Example: Draft binding treaty released by China and Russia.
Indian Policy response towards militarisation of space:
- Mission Shakti or an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- IndSpaceX: India’s simulated space warfare exercise keeping Chinese threats in mind.
- Formation of tri-service Defence Space Agency (DSA): separating military from civil space of satellites.
- Creation of Defence Space Research Agency (DSRA) for development of space-based weapons .
- Now, Space recognised military domain similar to other domain such as land, water, air and cyber.
Need for Joint Space Exercise:
- India and US will enter into new orbit of defence partnership: Already in Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Space has been singled out as a critical area of cooperation between two countries.
- Joint Space will send strong message to a common adversary i.e China.
- Provide way forward for the wider Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States).
- New theatre for Indo-U.S. military collaboration forward as militarisation of of space is happening at faster pace than expected.
- To counter “world-class” Chinese military doctrine India-US need to to innovate on doctrines, technologies and deterrence.
- Time for protection of space as it is bedrock of the modern economy — Global Positioning System or GPS (PNT — position navigation timing), telecom networks, early warning systems for missiles and weather forecasts.
Issues that may arise due to India -US joint space exercise:
- Eastern neighbour China may got provoked and may utilize our western neighbour i.e. Pakistan as a proxy state.
- Core Commanders dialogue in Ladakh with China may get derailed .
- United States is not a trusted partner as witnessed in Afghanistan, Vietnam war etc.
- Militarisation of space will get fasttracked.
- First step in India – U.S.A partnership is joint anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test as both countries have demonstrated their capability in this.
- Move 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.
Conclusion: Time has come to move India-U.S. military collaboration from mountains to outer heavens.
The Hindu:- https://bit.ly/3Ddeqaj ; Author: Vinayak Dalmia, Vrinda Kapoor