India's Space Security Dilemma

GP Capt T H Anand Rao

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Satellite applications have become a pre-requisite for effective military operations. The reliance on space assets by the military has made these very assets vulnerable to attacks by an adversary, leading to the development of anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities. The rise of China as an ASAT capable nation in an arena dominated by the two major space powers – US and Russia – has led to a different kind of space race: the race for space dominance. In the absence of stringent laws prohibiting such weapons in space, more countries are joining the fray to ensure their freedom of access to space. Another remarkable development is seen in the demonstration of proximity operations in space like inspection or refuelling of satellites, which is a dual use technology having covert ASAT utility. Space has thus transitioned from being the ‘ultimate high ground’ for the military, to being an operational domain in itself. In this backdrop, space security becomes relevant for nations to freely exploit space for various purposes, civil and military. India needs an effective space strategy, keeping national security objectives as a priority, while being compliant with international obligations.

This book gives an insight into the emergence of space control measures and suggests a broad space roadmap for India’s armed forces towards achieving space security through military means. This includes protecting satellites against attack, while also developing limited means to interfere with adversary space assets and how best to organise the military space and integrate military space operations with the existing civilian space infrastructure.

GP Capt T H Anand Rao is a former Senior Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi. He has researched extensively in the field of Space Security. He is an Alumni of Defence Services Staff College, with a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies. Being an experienced Fighter Pilot and a Flying Instructor, he has flown various fighter and trainer aircraft, and has served during the Kargil conflict. He was awarded the Chief of Air Staff Commendation in 2011. The author has written many articles on issues concerning ‘space security’ and has been a panellist in national and international seminars.

CONTENTS

Preface

List of Abbreviations

Introduction

1. Evolution of Space as a Military Enabler
2. The Quest for Space Control
3. Global Implications of Space Weaponisation
4. Trajectory of India’s Space Programme
5. Space Security Challenges for India
6. Space Security Strategy for India
7. Space Stability and Sustainability Culture: An Antidote to the Emerging Space Security Crisis

Annexure A

Chronological Succession of Major ASAT Developments

Annexure B

Attribution and Effects of Space Weapons

Index

 

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