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India responds to China-Pakistan satellite launch with its own border surveillance satellites

PRABHJOTE GILLJAN 22, 2019, 09.23 AM

GSLV-F11 prior to the successful launch of the GSAT-7A, ISRO's 39th communication satellite, on December 19, 2018ISRO

India’s apex space agency announced on January 17 that it will be launching a border surveillance satellite.The announcement comes six months after China and Pakistan launched the a satellite that will be able to monitor the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The CPEC runs through disputed land that both, India and Pakistan, claim belongs to them.India’s satellite will be able to send high-resolution imagery from its borders to help the border guarding forces communicate more efficiently.India’s discomfort of the friendship brewing between Pakistan and China was evident as it announced plans to launch border surveillance satellites. 

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) announcement to launch a satellite that will pick up high-resolution imagery of its neighboring borders comes just six months after Pakistan launched its own remote sensing satellite. 

The Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1), which was bought from China, will be able to monitor the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — a part of which runs through Gilgit-Baltistan in Azad Kashmir or Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). 

And, PoK is disputed land. India claims that its been under Pakistan’s illegitimate control since 1947. 

While the Indian satellite will be launched ‘exclusively’ for country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), meaning only the ministry will have access to its data. However, its implementation will be a coordinated effort between ISRO and India’s Ministry of Defence. 

The border security satellites aren’t only to fend against Pakistan, but China as well, with Aksai Chin — disputed territory between India and China — also lying along the country’s northern border. 

The images from the satellite will help the Border Guarding Forces (BGF) communicate more efficiently and give them a clearer picture of on-ground activity through high-resolution imagery. 

The task force report on ‘Space Technology in Border Management’ was approved by the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, on January 17. It highlights the short-term, mid-term and long-term plans for how India’s satellite technology will be implemented. 

‘Space Technology in Border Management’

In the short run, the aim is to help the Border Guarding Forces (BGF). But, as things progress, the aim is to use the images to help the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) as well. 

Essentially, the government wants to create a ‘Central Archival Facility’ that will allow the Home Ministry to share images resources will other agencies as well. It will also link into the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide navigation facilities. 

Once all of this is set up in the long run, it’s not only the difficult border areas that will be monitored but Naxal areas as well — also known as India’s ‘Red Corridor’ where there is an ongoing conflict between Maoist groups and the Indian government. 

In terms of space technology, India is bounds ahead of Pakistan having launched 104 satellites. But China has reportedly launched 250 satellites and most recently, successfully landed on the far-side of the moon.


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