Review space programme in light of China’s, US expert urges IndiaFebruary 22nd, 2009 - 1:05 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) India should undertake a strategic and comprehensive review of its space programmes as quickly as possible given “the military character and military functions” of China’s space programme, a senior US expert in Asian military affairs said Saturday.
Painting a “horror picture” of China’s rapidly expanding global military reach, Richard Fischer Jr., a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in the US, said Indian private universities should begin satellite or space development programmes as has been done in the United States.
Initiating a discussion on “Chinese military modernisation” at the Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank here, he said China’s space and satellite programmes have a military character and military functions.
Given this, he stressed on the need to develop satellite and space technologies to counter China’s advancement in these areas.
“We have to look forward to China performing military activities from moon,” Fischer said, noting that Beijing’s moon programme spokesman had said the team to moon would carry telescopes and lasers.
“What are they going to do with laser and telescope on the moon?” he wondered.
Fischer said the Chinese moon programme had even forced the US to take a re-look at its own lunar programme and to give it high priority with the necessary funds even at a time of economic meltdown.
He said the satellite programmes, to be developed by private Indian universities after obtaining legal permission, should be “completely outside the government’s tentacles”.
“If China can develop A-Sats and SLVs, why can’t India?” he asked, offering India a seat in the US’s second moon programme on a bilateral or trilateral basis. He said even Russia might be offering India such cooperation as it had offered to China.
He said India should make “necessary hard choices in these trying circumstances”.