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India sets up cell to protect space-based assets
June 10, 2008 18:40 IST
Waking up to the threat posed by China acquiring capability to shoot down satellites by missiles, India on Tuesday announced setting up of an integrated space cell to counter growing threats to the country's space-based assets.
The space cell, under the aegis of the Integrated Defence services headquarters is to act as a single window between armed forces, Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to work out measures to protect India's space-based assets.
Announcing its setting up at the unified Commanders Conference here, Defence Minister A K Antony said while India remains committed to non-weaponisation of space, emergence of offensive counter space systems and anti-satellite weaponry posed new threats which had to be countered.
Antony said new threats to space-assets were also emerging from building of new class of heavy lift and small boosters and improved array of military space systems in the country's neighbourhood.
The minister's announcements comes in the wake of India recently putting into orbit a number of specialised satellites including the nations first ever dedicated military satellite this year.
In months to come, ISRO has a busy schedule with plans to launch even more sophisticated satellites.
During the two-day conference, top armed forces commanders are discussing plans to utilise satellite imagery to boost security and intelligence.
The new dedicated military satellite launched recently will give Indian security experts a wider eye to keep a tab on areas surrounding the borders, as well as the seas and plans are already afoot to make these satellites linked to Army,
Navy and Air Force's network centric warfare capabilities now under development. Satellite imagery has recently assumed importance in the wake of unearthing of China's secret underground nuclear submarine pens, as well as its new range of such underwater vessels.
This is the first time that Indian defence commanders reviewed in depth the security implications of the build up of Chinese nuclear submarine fleet.
Presided over by Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta and attended by Army and Air Force chiefs and commanders from the strategic forces command and the Andaman Nicobar tri-service Command, the conference will also review the country's nuclear preparedness.
Along with space cell, Antony also announced setting up of Defence Informatics Centre (DIC) on the pattern of the National Informatics Centre.
DIC will cater to e-governance of the armed forces, the defence ministry and other associated organisations, the minister said.