Panaji: Outer space will turn into the new diplomatic battleground as experts believe that misuse and misconduct of space technology along with rising space debris is threatening to be a big challenge.
On the second day of the three-day conclave – Sagar Discourse 2, K. Radhakrishnan, former ISRO Chief said, “With the rapid rise in state and private actors and stakeholder in the outer space, the world has changed from a bipolar to multi-polar world.”
So far, space was believed to be used for communication, imagery, navigation and signal intelligence but there is thin line between the military and weaponization of the outer space, according to Group Captain Ajay Lele, Senior Fellow, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, participating in a panel discussion.
“Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Systems can indeed act as a trojan horse and be the first rung on a ladder leading to weaponization of space. On January 11, 2007 China destroyed its own aging weather satellite. The satellite had a mass of 750 kg and had been orbiting at an altitude of 850 km. The anti-satellite weapon was a non-explosive “kinetic kill vehicle,” which destroys its target simply by colliding with it. Space debris could lead to collisions between objects in space leading to further collisions,” Lele said.
These BMD systems shields a country from incoming missiles and been developed by US, Russia, India, France, Israel and China.
According to Shri Kumar Abhijeet, Assistant Professor, National Law School of India, there are approximately 115 countries owning operating satellites and around 1886 satellites are active in space as on April 2018 while the number of satellites as part of space debris of the size of 10cm or around more numbered are 21,000 and size of less than 1 cm are around 100 million.
Currently there are 65 countries with space activities and (UNCOPUOS) Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development has 83 members.”
Experts were deliberating at the SAGAR Discourse 2 conference organized by Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS). SAGAR is an acronym for Security And Growth for All in the Region coined by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The first edition termed SAGAR Discourse 1.0 was held in October 2017 that dwelled in great detail on Ocean terrain and cooperation.
The 3-day conference this year, aims to highlight the unprecedented technological, economic and developmental opportunities for humanity with opening up of space and how efficiently and collectively the governments can utilize this potential.