Space offers new scope for China-India cooperation

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/24 20:03:40

India is likely to hold its first simulated space warfare exercise this week, according to the Times of India (TOI), after the country took a giant leap into space on Monday when its lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 lifted off from the Sriharikota space station.

India aims to develop its launch and exploration capabilities as a part of its effort to help modernize its military. Although India's space plans have largely focused on civilian applications, space technology development will enable a full range of military applications in areas such as reconnaissance, communications, navigation and missile manufacturing.

In March, India claimed to have achieved the ability to destroy satellites in orbit as the country test-fired a rocket that shot down one of its own satellites. With China developing an array of anti-satellite weapons, the TOI cited Indian officials as saying that "India has no option but to develop deterrence capabilities to ensure no adversary can threaten its assets in outer space." It seems the China factor carries weight in India's space drive. India is keen to acquire rocket control technologies that can be used in the guidance systems of ballistic missiles. The country has modernized its ballistic-missile arsenal with an eye on neighboring countries, including Pakistan and China.

China welcomes the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2, because India's study of the moon's south pole will contribute to the welfare of the entire human race. However, India's space ambitions may arouse heightened vigilance in China, which has been closely watching India's every step in this area. 

India must guarantee that its space development does not target any third country, or it will face serious consequences. China still has various tools to use as countermeasures, if India's space ambitions go astray and trigger an arms race between the two countries. 

However, India's space exploration has also a bright side for its foreign affairs, as it provides more room for international space cooperation. If China and India can seize the chance to strengthen their cooperation in this regard, it can promote mutual trust and economic exchanges over the development of cutting-edge technologies.

With the rise of China and India in space technology, ties between the two emerging Asian powers are growing increasingly complicated. They face both challenges and opportunities. We believe that India has the wisdom to make the right choices.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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