Fakir Chand in Bangalore
India is planning to launch a military satellite soon to cater exclusively to the requirements of the armed forces, scientific adviser to the defence minister Dr V K Aatre said on Friday.
Disclosing this in Bangalore, Dr Aatre said the Defence Research and Development Organisation was working on the project, and the satellite would be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
"The defence satellite project is at an early stage. We have just started working on it. It will be too early to disclose more details," Aatre said in response to questions asking for project details.
ISRO sources, however, told rediff.com that they were yet to hear from either the Indian government or the DRDO about the proposed military satellite.
"Moreover, being dedicated to launching satellites for only civilian purposes, ISRO is not mandated to launch military satellites, unless there is a directive from the government or a major shift in the policy laid down when ISRO was set up in 1972," the sources added.
In October last year, ISRO launched India's first Technology Experiment Satellite-I from Sriharikota, widely reported to be a precursor to the proposed military satellite. The TES-I is capable of mapping, taking pictures of border areas, reports said.
During the height of the Afghan war, waged by the US-led international coalition forces in October 2001, the TES-I reportedly beamed one-metre high-resolution images of troop movements, armoured columns to earth stations back home.
The need for a military or spy satellite was strongly felt by the Indian government in the wake of intrusions by terrorists and Pakistani troops in the Kargil region during May-June 1999, leading to the bloody war later.
Since its inception, ISRO has been launching INSAT series satellites using the Ariane space launch vehicles from French Guyana as well as from the Sriharikota range for communication, weather, broadcasting and remote sensing purposes.
Aatre also disclosed that the DRDO was planning to recruit 700 scientists and engineers at the entry level. "The recruitment is being made to fill up the vacancies caused by the attrition in the various establishments operating under the DRDO," he said.
About 300 scientists/engineers have left the organisation during the last four years.
"We are impressing upon the youngsters to look at the immense opportunities in the defence areas. We are also offering incentives to make the prospective candidates to prefer this field. The slowdown in the tech sector is also helping us in attracting bright talent," Aatra said.
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