With the astounding success of the Chandrayaan in the in the discovery of water on the moon, the ISRO has rightfully grabbed the attention of the world. In fact, it can be said to be the best institution of India, which despite worldwide sanctions and tech denial, has conquered all adversities. But here too, like all the spheres of life, due to the lack of strategic culture, ISRO has remained merely a civilian tool and this also at a time when India is facing worst ever strategic threats from all corners including the rise of nuclear Iran, Myanmar, and the existing N-threats like China and Pakistan.
ISRO failed to detect the existence of the massive under mountain Chinese N-sub base in the Hainan island which can house twenty N-subs and anti-satellite weapons. This was detected by western satellites. Again Pakistan’s flourishing nuclear infrastructure evaded the Indian satellites. Two nuclear Plutonium facilities and underground nuclear missile storage sites were also uncovered by western satellites. The Plutonium facilities indicated Pak’s policy shift to produce lighter, smaller and smarter Plutonium warheads rather than uranium warheads. India remained blind to this development. Furthermore, Myanmar’s reported nuclear facilities in the mountainous regions also remained hidden from India.
All these point to the gaping hole of the Indian space program in the matter of the military.
Again when India tested the Block II version of the Brahmos for the first time, it failed to home in on the chosen target. It was suspected that perhaps willfully the US had shut the GPS. This also highlights the helplessness of India in the absence of its own GPS version.
India is building its own missile defense capabilities. It is planning to induct exo-spheric and endo-spheric anti-missile systems. It is also trying to enhance its nuclear command and control structure. But all these are futile in the absence of a dedicated aero-space command. It does not have a constellation of military satellites.
India has only recently woken up to the need for some military satellites but the efforts and still inadequate. China has already shown to the world its anti-satellite ability in 2007 by destroying one of its ageing weather satellites. So in the event of war, China must jeopardize the Indian satellite network. Furthermore, China was busy shopping satellite jammers. Anti-satellite researches are in full swing in China. Killer sats, parasite sats and laser weapons are also being developed. Set against the back drop of all these, the Indian space program is focused excessively on the civilian, not on the military.
So to rise up to any exigency, India must take up following measures,
First of all ISRO should be handed over to the military. Like the PLA, which controls the Chinese space program, the ISRO under proper guidance of the military will prepare an effective blue print for the military.
Secondly a dedicated aero-space command should immediately be setup. The US help can be sought in this regard. The US’ success of its aerospace warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan has already been researched by the Indian military.
Thirdly, satellite guided weapons like JDAMs and JSOWs should be our aim.
Fourthly, NORAD should be replicated in India to monitor enemy satellites and missiles.
Fifthly, the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System, touted to be an alternative to the US GPS, should be made effective with the increase of the number of satellites.
Sixthly, the Russian GLONASS and the US GPS should militarily be accessed through effective agreements with both the countries.
Seventhly, the Indo-Israeli military space collaboration should be taken to a new high. The Israeli radar expertise should be effectively utilized.
Lastly, India must enhance and display its anti sat capabilities. China’s display of its space war weapons on the 60th anniversary of its communist existence should serve as a clarion call to India.