The precision ‘surgical strikes’ that Indian soldiers carried out on terrorist camps across the Line of Control were ably assisted and facilitated by metallic birds flying high in the sky unseen by Pakistanis and at least half a dozen satellites helped prepare and execute them. India is fast developing a huge capability called ‘C4ISR’ or ‘command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance’.
The country has already put in place an Aerospace Command and experts who understand the nature of the ‘surgical strikes’ acknowledge that this new tri-services body played a key role in planning and execution of the midnight attacks.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) evidently does not fight wars and is purely a civilian agency, but the capabilities it imparts to the nation are among the very best in world. From watching over with an eagle eye the terrorist and militant infra-structure in Pakistan to providing two way communication in desolate places to giving out accurate navigation signals, ISRO has built a formidable infrastructure that helps India protect its borders in day or night.
Not many Indians know of these deep capabilities that lie hidden within the portals of the space agency as ISRO’s missions to Mars and Moon hog the lime light, but silently and steadily the 17,000 strong work force of ISRO contributes to keeping the lives of 1.2 billion Indians secure. ISRO provides the necessary platforms, and then it is the user agencies that utilise its downstream products which means ISRO does not directly participate in the conflict.
K Kasturirangan, former chairman of ISRO, says “The space agency has a formidable suit of technologies and all are suitably deployed with each user agency utilising the assets to their best advantage.”
So a high resolution imaging satellite can help in urban planning while it can also monitor terrorist camps across the border. Kasturirangan says a satellite image does not distinguish between friend and foe that interpretation rests with the users.
Nobody doubts that ISRO’s eyes and ears facilitated ‘surgical strike’ in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) at the staging points for terrorists. In years to come the role of India’s space assets will play a much bigger role if and when hostilities break out on our borders.
Kiran Kumar, chairman of ISRO, says, “The Indian space agency will not be found lacking in helping secure India’s national interests now and in future.”
Today, India has 33 satellites in orbit around the earth and one in the Martian orbit. These include 12 communications satellites; 7 navigation satellites; 10 earth observation satellites and 4 weather monitoring satellites. This is one of the largest constellation of satellites in the Asia-Pacific
region. Each bird is tailor-made for a specific purpose and each when needed helps protects India’s supreme national interests.
India has some of the sharpest eyes in the sky and to prepare for the ‘surgical strikes’ India’s best bird in the sky, the Cartosat 2-series satellite launched as recently as June 22 played a key role.