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India to Get Space Sensors to Monitor Chinese Military Satellites Hovering Over Asia-Pacific

Sputnik News

Rishikesh Kumar

The region between Australia and southern Africa lacks space situational awareness sensors, posing difficulties for the Indian military, which is facing competition from China in the Indian Ocean and along the 3,488 km Line of Actual Control.

India's first commercial space situational awareness observatory in Uttarakhand, a Himalayan state bordering Tibet, would improve the "effectiveness of tracking and identifying preexisting resident space objects" in the region ranging from Australia to southern Africa. The area lacks space situational awareness (SSA) sensors.

"It will result in the creation of a hybrid data pool that will serve both the commercial and the defense sectors of the space industry," Anirudh Sharma, CEO of Indian start-up Digantara, said on Monday.

The SSA observatory can track objects as small as 10 cm orbiting the Earth. Besides getting high-quality data on space debris, India will get indigenous capabilities to monitor "Chinese satellites" hovering over the Indian subcontinent.

"If, for example, Chinese satellites are seen over one particular region of India for a long time, having the indigenous capability to monitor such activities and not being dependent on countries like the US is a plus for India," Sharma underlined.

General David Thompson, vice chief of Space Operations for the US Space Force, reckoned that China's space capabilities could surpass those of the US by 2030. Between 2016-2021, China carried out 207 launch missions, including 183 by the Long March carrier rocket series.

At the peak of border tensions with India over the Galwan clash in 2020, China reportedly launched three spy satellites for military purposes.

The Indian Army does not possess a dedicated satellite and currently depends on data supplied by the Air Force and Navy. Last month, the Indian Army carried out the two-week-long pan-India "Exercise Skylight" to evaluate the combat readiness of its space assets.

© Sputnik

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