- The space arms race is already ongoing, according to the chiefs of the Air Force and the Defense Staff
NEW DELHI (Agencies): India must boost its defensive and offensive capabilities in the space domain, as the “future lies in having space-based platforms,” Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari told a national security and geopolitics forum on Saturday.
“In the future, instead of having purely land-based offensive systems, we should also have space-based offensive systems,” Chaudhari said, according to The Economic Times.
The competition and rivalry between the global powers in space “will have its effects across all other domains of warfare,” he said, predicting that his Air Force will soon turn into an Air Space Force, and “will be called upon to take part in space situational awareness, space denial exercises or space control exercises.”
“The race to weaponize space has already started and the day is not far when our next war would spread across all domains of land, sea, air, cyber and space,” the air force chief warned back in March. On Saturday he stated that the race has actually been ongoing ever since Nazi Germany first launched its V-2 rocket almost 80 years ago.
India’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Anil Chauhan, also recently stated that the “military applications of space is the dominant discourse from which we cannot remain divorced.”
“The aim for all of us should be developing dual-use platforms with special focus on incorporating cutting-edge technology,” he told the Indian DefSpace Symposium on April 11.
It remains unclear what kind of futuristic space weapons the military seeks to obtain, but Chaudhari said India should capitalize on the success of its 2019 anti-satellite missile test. The so-called Mission Shakti destroyed a satellite some 300km away in low-Earth orbit and was hailed at the time as an “unprecedented achievement” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India has become the fourth “space superpower” after the US, Russia, and China, to openly demonstrate its ASAT missile capability. The space club members have regularly accused each other of weaponizing space, voicing suspicions over secretive military launches and dual-purpose tests, but have never admitted to possessing any orbital weapons systems.