Space Weapons: A Rapidly Evolving Threat to South Asian Strategic Balance (Review)

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Space Weapons: A Rapidly Evolving Threat to South Asian Strategic Balance (Review)
Space Weapons: A Rapidly Evolving Threat to South Asian Strategic Balance (Review)

Struggle for outer-space militarization has emerged during the cold war era when both the Soviet Union and USA were busy trying out match each other in the space race. Now China as an emerging state in terms of economy and military is has also joined the race to become a superpower besides Russia. India has also tried to gain such a status but as of right now is not far enough to be fit in that race. The Indian economy, military technology, and struggle for getting a permanent membership of UNSC is proof of India wanted role in world order. Space weapons have become an important factor for states in power politics and gaining influence in internationally.

Space weapons have been a key concern for arms controllers as this is a sign of worry because some major states have turned their attention towards space militarization. It leads to more competition and conflicts globally between states.

In case of South Asia, India in leading enormously in terms of economy and militarily. In near future India will have a role in global decision making because it has achieved much a notable status in international community. Indian media, public and military leadership is craving for outer-space capabilities. Outer Space capabilities will be a benefit for Indian state because it will be a sign of worry for the enemy to go in for a conflict. Indian space weapons technology has created tension for Pakistan.

Pakistan as being Indian main adversary has considered this space militarization as a threat for itself and regional stability in South Asia. Pakistan movement for the outer-space program is just started yet and has taken time to complete. Pakistan should have a strong outer-space program for maintaining its deterrence. The outer-space assets should be reliable to prevent an attack.

Indian space weaponization is a proof that India wanted to be regional power with the help and support of United States. USA is supporting India to become a regional player to counter its adversary China. India also has conflict with China but the trade volume between both states is exceptional. India wants to gain influence in South Asia as it is developing its armed capabilities and taking hawkish positions against Pakistan. India becoming a member of MTCR could be a problem in future for Pakistan outer space program. This space race has opened a new door of competition between India and Pakistan as both states are looking to develop their space programs and to compete each other for influence in South Asian region.

The Chinese ASAT test in 2007 became a sign for India when it gears up itself for space program. Indian strategy of space weaponization has changed after China demonstrated its ASAT ability. The Indian strategic thinkers are urging India to conduct space test to show its space capabilities and sign of warning for Pakistan.

Indian strategists are looking forward to getting ASAT capabilities. Indo-US deal in 2008 has been a remarkable effort of India for getting help in nuclear technology and outer-space programs. The development of Artificial Intelligence could be huge factor for Indian war strategy.

At the end Indian struggle for development of outer space program is their policy to gain influence over the Asian region, it wants to get power and wants to be in front of Asia decision making policy. On the other hand, Space capabilities will increase its reputation and respect in international community. However, this will be a challenge for Pakistan security because the balance of power between both states will be disturbed and the quest for power struggle will lead to more competition and managing territorial disputes.

Article by: Ahmed Saeed Minhas

URL:https://ndu.edu.pk/issra/issra_pub/articles/ndu-journal/NDU-Journal-2018/16-Space-Wpns.pdf

Review by: Hassan Shahid

About Author: Hassan Shahid is a student of BS IR at University of Gujrat. His areas of interest include geo-politics, foreign policy, and conflict resolution.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pakistan Strategic Forum.

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