India sets up cell to counter threats to space assetsJune 10th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) India has set up a special cell to counter “the growing threat to our space assets”, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced here Tuesday. Addressing the Unified Commanders’ Conference here, he said, “Although we want to utilise space for peaceful purposes and remain committed to our policy of non-weaponisation of space, offensive counter space systems like anti-satellite weaponry, new classes of heavy-lift and small boosters and an improved array of military space systems have emerged in our neighbourhood.”
The new cell will function under the Integrated Defence Services Head Quarters and will act as a single window for integration among the armed forces, the Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The defence minister also announced the government’s approval for the setting up of a Defence Informatics Centre on the lines of the National Informatics Centre. It will cater to the e-governance needs of the armed forces, the defence ministry and other associated organisations.
Antony also announced the establishment of a Defence Information Technology Consultative Committee (DITCC) comprising eminent personalities from the defence ministry, the three Services, the ministry of communication and IT, academia and the industry.
“DITCC has evolved a road map and a common approach for the integration of information technology in the armed forces,” the minister said.
The two-day conference will focus on various issues relating to the ongoing process of jointness amongst the three Services, and on higher defence management.
The conference is being attended among others by the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee and Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, Defence Secretary Shri Vijay Singh, and Integrated Service Command chief Lt. Gen. Hardev Lidder.
Dwelling at length on the security challenges in the country, Antony said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast “has shown signs of improvement due to the commitment and dedication of our armed forces and the paramilitary forces”.
“There is, however, a need to extend such synergy in functioning to counter the activities of independent modules that have linkages to terrorists in Kashmir and to international terror networks,” he added.
Antony also called upon the security forces to ensure the peaceful conduct of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir later this year and also work for maintaining peace and normalcy in the state.
Warning that forces within the state and outside would attempt to disrupt the democratic process, the minister said: “We will have to keep a constant vigil and intensify our efforts to ensure conduct of free and fair elections in an atmosphere of peace.”