India’s launch of the Israeli spy satellite, Tesar or Polaris on Jan 21, equipped with synthetic aperture radar which can take pictures of the earth through day and night, cloud and rain 365 days of the year holds special significance at a time when India is striving to build its own aerospace command. The quiet launch of the satellite contains multifaceted significance. The significances can be enlisted as follows:-
- The launch showed the maturity and intensity of the Indo-Israel defense co-operation. The military space co-operation between the two countries has proceeded towards a higher plane of sophistication. Most important here is the power of the synthetic aperture radar and the radar imaging satellite design which India wishes to buy. Space surveillance over China, Pakistan and even over Iran is important for India because of the nuclear factor and their hostile intentions. So India must exploit and utilize Israeli expertise in this field.
- The fact that the launch was carried out despite the alleged U.S and Gulf pressures shows India’s pragmatic maturity.
- The launch has certainly been taken note of by China. The satellite is said to have been designed to monitor Iranian nuclear program and military preparedness. Hence China which is assisting Iran in its missile ambitions must be worried by India’s entry into the intelligence arena of the region.
- Iran once again must have been worried by India’s assistance to Israel in a field which concerns its security.
- Finally the launch enhanced the image of the ISRO as a serious, responsible and efficient space agency and highlighted the reputation of the PSLV as a reliable launch vehicle.