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Scrutiny
 
CHINA: SPACE PROGRAMS
A new frontier with China?
As it is already being speculated that the Chinese space program may not entirely be for peaceful purposes, India has to take urgent action
Issue Date - 01/03/2012
 
Stoic China’s ambition of rising as a space age superpower is evident from its future plans including building space stations, manned space vessels and space laboratories. China has hauled up its space programs out of Third World mediocrity to successfully complete a spacewalk in 2008, and it earlier sent a human to space in 2003; thus becoming the third country after US & Russia to do so.

One would otherwise hope that China’s endeavours in this area only better our understanding of the world beyond us. But the catch here is that China’s space programs are run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which raises doubts over its claim of being a program for peaceful purposes. This became a subject of debate when it fired missiles and destroyed a dead satellite in 2007. This raised the heckles of the US as a nervous Pentagon talked about Chinese “disruptive technologies.” But the country that’s really nervous is India.

The Ministry of Defence, ISRO and DRDO have expressed concern and feel that India’s space assets are under threat from China. India’s concerns are further reinstated with China’s possession of emerging anti-satellite weaponry and new classes of heavy lift off boosters. The way China destroyed its paralysed satellites and created space debris has not been even advocated under UN. Indian establishments have already faced a series of cyber attacks purportedly from Chinese hackers. It’s in India’s best interests to engage in greater collaboration with developed countries who are as concerned about this new China threat and develop suitable defence & deterrent mechanisms. While it is our official stance to not use our space assets for military purposes, we have to ensure that they are not defenceless in the future.

 

Sayan Ghosh           

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