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India Should Have Space-Based Offensive Systems, Be Prepared to Fight in Space, Says Air Chief

Indian Air Force

New Delhi: Indian Air Force’s Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and Chief of Defence Staff  (CDS), General Anil Chauhan, have pointed out that India needs to develop space-based weapons, as space is the next frontier, and a place where skirmishes will take place media reports said.

It looks like the Indian armed forces believe that someday, in the near future, we will have to be ready to fight in space. Perhaps that is why the Air Chief pointed out the need for defensive and offensive capabilities in the space domain. Armed skirmishes or full-fledged wars being fought in space isn’t exactly a new concept. As more and more countries are sending their own missions to space, there is a very good chance that there will be some serious contention over some issue or the other, especially considering that many countries don’t have any treaties as to how they’re supposed to conduct their business in space.

India must improve its defensive and offensive space capabilities since the future lies in having space-based platforms, the Air Chief  said at a national security and geopolitics seminar. “In the future, instead of having purely land-based offensive systems, we should also have space-based offensive systems,” Chaudhari said.

The competition and rivalry between global powers in space “will have ramifications across all domains of warfare,” he predicted, stating that his Air Force will soon be transformed into an Air Space Force and “will be called upon to participate in space situational awareness, space denial exercises, or space control exercises.”

“The race to weaponize space has already begun, and the day is not far away when our next war will spread across all domains of land, sea, air, cyber, and space,” said the air force chief in March. On April 29, he said that the race has been going on since Nazi Germany launched its V-2 rocket about 80 years ago.

CDS said “military applications of space is the dominant discourse from which we cannot remain divorced.” “The goal for all of us should be to develop dual-use platforms with a special emphasis on incorporating cutting-edge technology,” he said at the Indian DefSpace Symposium.

It’s unclear what type of futuristic space weaponry the military wants, but Chaudhari believes India could capitalise on the success of its 2019 anti-satellite missile launch. The so-called Mission Shakti destroyed a satellite 300 kilometres distant in low-Earth orbit, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised it as an “unprecedented achievement” at the time.

After the United States, Russia, and China, India has become the fourth “space superpower” to officially display its ASAT missile capacity. Members of the space club have frequently accused one another of weaponizing space, raising concerns about covert military launches and dual-purpose testing, but have never confessed to holding any orbital weapons systems.