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Posts tagged ‘Indian Peninsula’

IAF ties up with ISRO for manned mission crew selection

Bengaluru, India (IANS)

May 31, 2019

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday said it signed an agreement with the state-run Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Tuesday for crew selection and training for the country’s prestigious maiden manned mission Gaganyaan by 2021-22.

“The agreement was signed by Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Space Operations) Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor and Gaganyaan Project Director R. Hutton in the presence of the space agency’s Chairman K. Sivan here,” tweeted IAF.

The crew selection and training will be conducted at ISRO’s Human Space Flight Center, opened on January 31 adjacent to its headquarters in the city, to develop technologies for the manned space missions.

As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018, the space agency will send three astronauts, including a woman, in a capsule into space around the earth’s orbit for a week-long rendezvous by December 2021 or 2022, which marks the country’s 75th year of independence.

The Rs 9,023-crore ambitious project involves sending a 3-member crew on board a heavy rocket to an altitude of 350-400 km and orbit around the planet for conducting experiments in space during a week-long voyage.

The previous NDA government on December 28, 2018 approved the country’s first human space flight program.

“In the run-up, the space agency will send two unmanned missions before 2021 and the manned mission by 2022,” a space official told IANS earlier.

ISRO on January 31 opened a Human Space Flight Center adjacent to its headquarters here to develop technologies for manned space missions.

The Human Flight Space Center will also develop engineering systems for crew survival in space and sustained human space flight missions.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/IAF_ties_up_with_ISRO_for_manned_mission_crew_selection_999.html.

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About 50 pieces of destroyed Indian satellite flying above ISS

Washington DC (Sputnik)

Apr 08, 2019

Around 60 fragments of India’s Microsat-R military satellite are currently flying in orbit, 46 of which are flying in orbits located above the apogee of the International Space Station (ISS), according to the US Air Force’s catalog, published on space-track.org website.

The US Air Force’s catalog currently includes 57 Microsat-R fragments flying in orbits at altitudes from 159 kilometers to 2,248 kilometers (99-1,397 miles). As many as 46 of these fragments are flying in orbits above the ISS apogee, which stands at around 400 kilometers.

Ivan Moiseev, the head of the Russian Institute for Space Policy, has commented on the matter, telling Sputnik that fragments flying above the ISS were a threat, albeit an insignificant one.

“There is a threat coming from the Indian satellite, but it is a highly unlikely one”, Moiseev said, explaining that the risk of collision was low because the ISS and the fragments had different inclinations.

India successfully tested its anti-missile weapon on 27 March destroying the Microsat-R in low-Earth orbit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised this as a benchmark event, stressing that the test has proven India’s ability to safeguard its space assets.

Meanwhile, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has slammed the test, saying that it had created at least 400 pieces of debris, increasing the risk of the ISS colliding with debris by 44 percent.

Microsat-R, designed by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization, was launched into orbit atop the PSLV carrier in January.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/About_50_Pieces_of_Destroyed_Indian_Satellite_Flying_Above_ISS___US_Air_Force_999.html.

India to Launch Military Satellite to Detect Enemy Radars, Sensors and Devices

New Delhi (Sputnik)

Mar 26, 2019

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch a locally built advanced military satellite, along with 28 other satellites from international partners, on 1 April from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota.

This will be the 47th mission of ISRO’s C45 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The launch is also aimed at demonstrating the PSLV’s capability to place satellites into orbit.

“We will be using a PSLV rocket with four strap-on motors. Further, for the first time we will be trying to orbit the rocket at three different altitudes,” K Sivan, chairman of the ISRO, said.

The primary satellite will be injected into orbit at 749 km, followed by two fourth stage restarts to achieve a 504 km orbit, where all customer satellites will be injected. Subsequently, the fourth stage will be restarted again to achieve a 485 km orbit to serve as an orbital platform to carry out spaceborne experimentation.

In the fourth stage, the launcher will turn into a payload platform carrying three experimental payloads that include an automatic identification system for maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships.

The second payload comprises an automatic packet repeating system (APRS) from India’s AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) that will assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data.

The third experimental payload includes an advanced retarding potential analyzer for ionospheric studies (ARIS) from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), an ISRO document reads.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/India_to_Launch_Military_Satellite_to_Detect_Enemy_Radars_Sensors_and_Devices_999.html.

Modi declares India ‘space superpower’ as satellite downed by missile

By Jalees Andrabi

New Delhi (AFP)

March 28, 2019

India said it had destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that proved the nation was among the world’s most advanced space powers.

In a rare address to the nation on Wednesday, just weeks before a national election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India had joined the United States, Russia and China in accomplishing the feat.

A missile fired from a testing facility in Odisha, eastern India, downed the satellite at an altitude of around 300 kilometers (185 miles) in “a difficult operation” that lasted around three minutes, Modi said.

“This is a proud moment for India,” Modi added, in his first televised national address since late 2016.

“India has registered its name in the list of space superpowers. Until now, only three countries had achieved this feat.”

It comes a month after Indian and Pakistani fighter jets engaged in a dogfight over the disputed border in Kashmir — a serious military escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Modi said the anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test was peaceful, and not designed to create “an atmosphere of war”.

“I want to assure the world community that the new capability is not against anyone. This is to secure and defend… fast-growing India.”

But analysts said it would not go unnoticed in China and Pakistan, India’s chief rivals in the nuclear-armed region, and could be interpreted as a show of New Delhi’s advancing military capabilities.

“This is less about shooting down satellites and more about proving high-altitude ‘hit-to-kill’ proficiency, which is the core competency required to get good at a range of things — including defense against nuclear-capable ballistic missiles,” Ankit Panda, of the Federation of American Scientists, told AFP.

“This is how the message is going to be perceived in Islamabad.”

A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry said countries that had “strongly condemned” the demonstration of similar technologies in the past should work towards preventing the militarization of space.

“Boasting of such capabilities is reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills,” the spokesman said.

– Star wars –

The United States and the former Soviet Union carried out their first successful anti-satellite missile tests in 1985, and China in 2007.

All are now said to be working on so-called Star Wars laser weapons to destroy satellites.

With satellites increasingly important because of their intelligence gathering role — and major nations seeking to gain a foothold in space — the United States in 2014 rejected a Russian-Chinese proposal for a treaty to ban weapons in space, saying it was “fundamentally flawed” because of the lack of weapons verification measures.

India’s foreign ministry said the country “has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space”.

“We have always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes,” the ministry said.

“At the same time, the government is committed to ensuring the country’s national security interests and is alert to threats from emerging technologies.”

Modi said the test did not violate any international treaties and was for the betterment and safety of India’s 1.3 billion people.

But NASA and the Pentagon warned that ASAT tests create potentially dangerous debris fields in Earth’s orbit.

“Some people like to test anti-satellite capabilities intentionally, and create orbital debris fields that we today are still dealing with,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine told Congress Wednesday.

“And those same countries come to us for space situational awareness, because of the debris field that they themselves created.”

Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said not having rules was “worrisome”.

“We all live in space. Let’s not make it a mess,” Shanahan said.

“Space should be a place where we can conduct business, space should be a place where people have freedom to operate. We cannot make it unstable, we cannot create a debris problem that ASAT tests create.”

– Elections –

The test comes ahead of a national election starting April 11 in which Modi — whose Hindu nationalist party stormed to power in 2014 — is seeking a second term in office.

Under election laws, the government is forbidden from announcing new policies or other major developments that could benefit the ruling party.

“The timing and the manner of the announcement, with elections around the corner, will certainly lead to speculation,” Dhruva Jaishankar, Delhi-based fellow in foreign policy with Brookings India, told AFP.

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated India’s scientists on the feat but also wished Modi “a very happy World Theatre Day” — referring to celebrations also marked around the globe on March 27.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the announcement, saying for “a deterrent of this kind there is no better than the prime minister to inform the world”.

India has made giant strides in its space journey in recent years. It launched a record 104 satellites in a single mission in 2017, and has also built a reputation for low-cost space exploration and science missions.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Modi_declares_India_space_superpower_as_satellite_downed_by_missile_999.html.

Pakistan-India train service resumes as border tensions ease

March 04, 2019

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A key train service with neighboring India resumed and schools in Pakistani Kashmir opened Monday in another sign of easing tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals since a major escalation last week over the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan Railways spokesman Ejaz Shah said the train service, known as the Samjhauta Express, left the eastern city of Lahore for India’s border town of Atari, with some 180 passengers on board. Pakistan suspended the train service last week as tensions escalated following India’s airstrike on Tuesday inside Pakistan. India said it targeted militants behind a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet the next day and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India two days later. Also Monday, schools in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir opened after seven days of closure amid the heightened tensions.

Raja Jaleel, head teacher at a secondary school in Chakothi, which is close to the Line of Control border in the disputed region, said classes resumed but attendance was thin. He lauded the courage of the students who attended, as many of the area’s parents are keeping their children home for their safety.

“We have started our day with prayers for peace,” said the head teacher, adding that the students also chanted slogans in support of the army. Schools were closed when Indian and Pakistani troops were trading fire across the Line of Control. At least eight civilians and two soldiers have been killed in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir since tensions soared following India’s airstrike last Tuesday.

The reopening of schools on the Pakistani side of Kashmir and the resumption of the train service amid the lull in the crossfire for the second consecutive day suggests that the two nuclear-armed rivals have heeded international calls to exercise restraint. But Pakistan hasn’t yet opened its airspace for flights to or from the east.

Senior civil aviation official Aamir Mahboob said that there was “no change yet in our aviation policy toward east but the west corridor is open for all flights.” After the suicide bombing on Feb 14 in the Pulwama district of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Indian jets crossed into Pakistani Kashmir and then into the Balakot section of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where they dropped bombs. India claimed its jets struck the militants behind the Pulwama attack. Pakistan denied that any such militant base existed in the area or that was hit by jets. Next day Pakistan shot down two Indian jets and detained a pilot who landed on the Pakistani side. He was handed back to India in a gesture of peace two days later.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947. Both countries claim the territory in its entirety and have fought two of their three wars over it. The rivals struck a cease-fire deal in 2003 but regularly trade cross-border fire.

Mughal reported from Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Pakistan, India trade fire in Kashmir; villagers flee homes

February 28, 2019

MUZAFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire through the night into Thursday morning in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, a day after Islamabad said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, though jetfighters roared overhead through the mountainous region as villagers along the so-called Line of Control fled to safety. Meanwhile, members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharitiya Janata Party called for more military action, suggesting the conflict still could worsen. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had called for talks between the two nuclear-armed rivals in a televised address Wednesday, saying: “Considering the nature of the weapons that both of us have, can we afford any miscalculation?”

World powers have called on the nations to de-escalate the tensions gripping the contested region since a Feb. 14 suicide car bombing killed over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel. India responded with an airstrike Tuesday inside Pakistan, the first such raid since the two nations’ 1971 war over territory that later became Bangladesh.

The situation escalated with Wednesday’s aerial skirmish, which saw Pakistan say it shot down two Indian aircraft, one of which crashed in Pakistan-held part of Kashmir and the other in India-controlled Kashmir.

India acknowledged one of its MiG-21s, a Soviet-era fighter jet, was “lost” in skirmishes with Pakistan and that its pilot was “missing in action.” India also said it shot down a Pakistani warplane, something Islamabad denied.

Pakistan’s military later circulated a video of a man with a mustache who identified himself as the Indian pilot, sipping tea and responding to questions, mostly by saying, “You know I can’t answer that.” He appeared in good health as he was questioned about his hometown, his aircraft and his mission.

Both Indian and Pakistani officials reported small-arms fire and shelling along the Kashmir region into Thursday. Government buildings in Muzafarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir, were used to provide shelter to those who fled from border towns.

Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand described the intensity of the firing as “lesser” than previous nights. Authorities in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir closed all schools and educational institutions in the region and are urged parents to keep their children at home amid mounting tension with neighboring India. Pakistan’s airspace remained closed for a second day Thursday, snarling air traffic.

Meanwhile, India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, suggested at a news conference Wednesday that Indian special forces carry out secret missions to capture terrorist leaders in Pakistan, invoking the 2011 U.S. Navy Seal operation to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

“I remember when U.S. Navy Seals went to Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden, then why can’t India?” he asked. “This used to be only an imagination, a wish, a frustration and disappointment. But it’s possible today.”

Just weeks before general elections are due in India, the head of Modi’s party in India’s Karnataka state, B.S. Yeddyurappa, said India’s pre-dawn airstrikes in Pakistan on Tuesday would help the party at the polls.

The violence Wednesday marked the most serious escalation of the long-simmering conflict since 1999, when Pakistan’s military sent a ground force into Indian-controlled Kashmir at Kargil. That year also saw an Indian fighter jet shoot down a Pakistani naval aircraft, killing all 16 on board.

Kashmir has been claimed by both India and Pakistan since almost immediately after their creation in 1947. The countries have fought three wars against each other, two directly dealing with the disputed region.

Hussain reported from Srinagar, India. Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Kathy Gannon and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

India warns of ‘crushing response’ to Kashmir suicide attack

February 16, 2019

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India’s prime minister warned of a “crushing response” to the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people and was the deadliest in the divided region’s volatile history.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the blame for Thursday’s bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir. “Our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize,” he said Friday, adding that government forces have been “given total freedom” to deal with the militants.

“Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response,” he said. Pakistan’s ruling party rejected Modi’s allegation, saying India’s governing party was blaming Islamabad for political gains in the upcoming national election.

“The Indian allegations against Pakistan over yesterday’s incident are part of the election campaign,” said Naeemul Haq, a senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which came to power in last year’s parliamentary election. He said the violence in Kashmir was “the result of the brutalities of Indian occupied forces in Kashmir.”

The attack has ratcheted up already high tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors, who both administer parts of the disputed territory but each claim it entirely. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced Friday that New Delhi was withdrawing the most-favored nation trade status given to Pakistan and would take all possible diplomatic steps “to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan of which incontrovertible evidence is available of having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident.”

India’s Foreign Ministry also summoned the Pakistani ambassador to protest the attack. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the country condemns acts of violence anywhere in the world and denied any involvement. “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” it said in a statement.

Rebels, many of whom want Kashmir united with Pakistan, have been fighting Indian control since 1989. But the Muslim-majority region has experienced renewed attacks and repeated public protests in recent years as a new generation of Kashmiri rebels, especially in the southern parts of the region, has challenged New Delhi’s rule with a mixture of violence and social media.

About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown. Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2009, with at least 260 militants, 160 civilians and 150 government forces killed.

In Thursday’s attack, a local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a bus traveling in the paramilitary convoy. In addition to the dead, the attack wounded nearly two dozen other soldiers, India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force spokesman Sanjay Sharma said.

Police said the bus was destroyed and at least five other vehicles were damaged. The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility. A pre-recorded video circulated on social media sites showed the purported attacker in combat clothes and surrounded by guns and grenades.

Authorities imposed a security lockdown in the southern Kakapora area to stop people from assembling at the home of the militant who allegedly attacked the convoy. Still, hundreds of people were able to reach his home by crossing rice fields and orchards, and offered prayers there.

Authorities suspended security convoys in the Kashmir Valley on Friday and Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar to review the security situation. He said civilian traffic would be stopped during the movement of convoys in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, three top Kashmiri leaders known as the Joint Resistance Leadership who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir said they regretted the killings. They said in a statement that India’s “muscular military approach to counter an essentially political and human problem is wreaking havoc in Kashmir, especially on the next generation.”

“Those who are here to execute this policy are also under stress and paying a price with their lives,” they said. The attack has raised tensions elsewhere in Hindu-majority India. Hundreds of residents carrying India’s national flag in Hindu-dominated Jammu city in the Muslim-majority state burned vehicles and hurled rocks at homes in Muslim neighborhoods, officials said. Authorities imposed a curfew and appealed for restraint.

Some people were reported injured in the mob attacks. Nearly 100 protesters chanting slogans such as “Pakistan down, down!” and “Attack Pakistan, Attack,” burned an effigy of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in a park close to India’s Parliament in New Delhi. They later dispersed.

The U.S. singled out Pakistan in a statement condemning the attack. “The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” the statement from the White House press secretary’s office said.

It said the attack strengthened U.S. resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 and regularly exchange fire along their highly militarized border in Kashmir.

Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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