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[April 21, 2009]
Indian Spy satellite Pakistan to counter move
Apr 20, 2009 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- The launch of first Indian spy satellite into the orbit to monitor borders with Pakistan has raised many eyebrows and the development is likely to have adverse impact on terror war as well as strategic balance in South Asia.
Well-placed government sources told TheNation that Indias Monday move has been taken by Islamabad as a pinch of salt and would seek to balance out the situation with counter plans come what may.
In the interest of peace, India should have delayed its satellite-based spying mission on Pakistan that is currently engaged in fighting terror on its western border, a senior official said requesting anonymity.
Since both the South Asian nuclear neighbours, India and Pakistan, always had tense relations because of Kashmir dispute, this development would add new dimension to their already estranged relations, a leading defence analyst said.
He was of the view that Pakistan cannot remain insensitive to this development and would also like to follow the suit to boost its surveillance capability.
Some sources, however, dropped hints that Pakistan may launch its own satellite in a couple of years as it was already in the process of acquiring technology relating to satellite launching vehicle to counter the Indian move. Pakistan had also launched a space research programme in late 80s and had already launched two satellites Badar-1 and Badar-2 on an experimental basis in collaboration with one of the Central Asian Republics.
Now with India taking the lead Pakistan would also expedite efforts to counter the Indian programme as soon as possible, defence experts said. AFP from Bangalore adds: India put an Israeli-built spy satellite into orbit Monday, aimed at boosting its defence surveillance capabilities in the aftermath of the Mumbai militant attacks. The satellite, which can see through clouds and carry out day-and-night all-weather imaging, has been a long-standing demand of the Indian military.
Its acquisition was fast-tracked after the November 26-29 Mumbai siege in which 10 gunmen killed 165 people. The 300kg RISAT 2 was launched by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket from the Sriharikota launch site, 90 kilometres north of the southern city of Chennai.
It has been successfully placed in the orbit 20 minutes after lift-off this morning, G Padmanabhan, a scientist from Indias Space Research Organisation, told AFP by phone.
Another senior scientist and member of the Space Commission, Roddam Narasimhaiah, told images from the new satellite, 550 kilometres above the planet, would show any movement on the surface of the earth.
It can be used for monitoring the countrys borders round the clock, check cross-border movement and help the Indian security forces in anti-infiltration or anti-terrorist operations, Narasimhaiah said. Indias existing satellites get blinded at night and in the monsoon season but the one launched Monday will be able to work in all light and weather conditions, Narasimhaiah added.
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