The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its 100th and 2018’s first satellite into orbit on Friday morning. A total of 31 small satellites were launched into space out of which half of the micro and nano satellites were for the United States, and the remainder India, Canada, Finland, France, South Korea and the United Kingdom. While the nation celebrated this success, neighbour Pakistan wasn’t very impressed. Even before the satellite was launched, Pakistan had issued a stern warning.
During a press conference on Thursday evening, the Pak Foreign Ministry Spokesperson was asked that ‘India has launched a remote sensing satellite cartosat-2 series along with 31 small satellites in space, which have surveillance capabilities. How do you view the increasing Indian investment in defence and surveillance?’
To this, he replied by saying that all space technologies, including the earth observation satellites, can be used for military purposes as well. “According to media reports, India is set to launch 31 satellites including the earth observation spacecraft Cartosat, on 12th January 2018. All space technologies, including earth observation satellites, are inherently dual use and can be employed for both civilian and military purposes,” he said.
The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson warned that if this move is aimed towards a buildup of destabilizing military capabilities, it can negatively impact the regional strategic stability.
“All states have a legitimate right to pursue peaceful uses of space technologies. However, given the dual-use nature of such technologies, it is essential that such pursuits are not directed towards a buildup of destabilizing military capabilities, which can negatively impact the regional strategic stability,” he added.
Pakistan had actually established its Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) in 1961, 8 years before India had established ISRO. However, the Indian Space Agency has taken giant strides since then, establishing its superiority over its counterpart.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised its latest achievement by saying, “The launch of the 100th satellite by @isro signifies both its glorious achievements and also the bright future of India’s space programme.”
India’s space programme has a budget of around $4 billion and Modi’s government hopes the latest launches will improve its prospects of winning a larger share of the more than $300 billion global space industry.