The space arms race is already underway, say Air Force and Defense Chiefs
India needs to focus on building up its space capabilities, not just defensively but also offensively, because the “The future lies in space platforms”, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said Saturday at a forum on national security and geopolitics.
“In the future, instead of having purely terrestrial offensive systems, we should also have space offensive systems”, Chaudhari said, according to The Economic Times.
Competition and rivalry between world powers in space “will have its effects in all other areas of warfare”, he said, hinting that his air force will soon turn into an airspace army, and “will be called upon to participate in space situational awareness exercises, space denial exercises, or space control exercises.”
“The space arms race has already begun, and the day is not far off when our next war will engulf all domains of land, sea, air, cyber and space. ‘space”, the Air Force chief warned in March. On Saturday, he said the race has been going on since Nazi Germany launched its V-2 rocket nearly 80 years ago.
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India’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Anil Chauhan, also said recently that the “Military applications of space are the mainstream discourse from which we cannot remain separate.”
“The goal for all of us should be to develop dual-use platforms with a particular focus on integrating advanced technologies,” he said at India’s DefSpace symposium on April 11.
It remains unclear what kind of futuristic space weapons the military is seeking, but Chaudhari said India should capitalize on the success of its 2019 anti-satellite missile test. The so-called Shakti Mission has destroyed a satellite about 300 km away in low Earth orbit and was hailed at the time as an “unprecedented achievement” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India became the fourth “space superpower” after the United States, Russia and China, to openly demonstrate its ASAT missile capability. Space club members regularly accuse each other of weaponizing space, expressing suspicion of secret military launches and dual-purpose testing, but have never admitted to owning orbital weapon systems themselves.
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