Assignment about Current ISR Capabilities of Indian Space Program & Its Impact on Pakistan Army Operations

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Current ISR Capabilities of Indian Space Program & Its Impact on Pakistan Army Operations


Over years the Indian space program has matured and has reached to a stage where Pakistan, being the major target rivals for India, have to prepare itself to cope with the emerging threats to its national security. This research is focused on performing an in-depth analysis of the strategic implementations of Indian Space program with regard to the battlefield surveillance abilities that India acquires. The main focus of this study will be on the study and analysis of the capabilities of India with reference to is space program with the analysis of vulnerabilities to Pakistan for conducting the defensive operations. Starting from the analysis of available literature the study will suggest a response strategy to be implemented by Pakistan forces at strategic and operational levels.


The relationship between India and Pakistan has always been controversial since the beginning of time, also there are multiple threats to Pakistan from the remarkable and ongoing technological advancements of India. It traces the successful development of one of the finest Indian Space Programs. The paper also takes a look at different satellites and their uses in different fields. The study further considers some of the measures which must be taken by Pakistan to protect their country from the harms of their neighboring countries, and recommends certain viable options to settle the issue. I am greatly indebted to my Directing Staff, Lieutenant Colonel ----------------_____ for his valued guidance, encouragement and cooperation without which it would have been very difficult for me to complete this Paper. I am grateful to Col Rashid, my elder brother, who remained a continuous source of inspiration for me during my research work. I am thankful to Major_____ who extended his kind cooperation and guidance in my research. I also express my gratitude to all my friends and colleagues, especially Major _____, who extended his sincere assistance in my research. And most of all I pay my regards and love to my wife, my daughter, ____ and son, ____who sacrificed their time, provided me with every possible means of comfort and inspired me to complete the research work successfully.




The research work we have taken under consideration is based upon the fact of over development and modifications of weapons and armed forces, in different countries, surrounding Pakistan, particularly in India. The type of developments we will be discussing in this research work is the space program of India. As we have observed that India is emerging as one of the finest countries, in terms of development and modification of new technologies within their country. One of the most advanced type of these technologies include an enormous number of their space programs technologies, including their multiple air crafts, satellites, rockets releasing into space and many other similar technologies have been developed in their country. The initiative for development of these technologies was taken in the year of 1960. However, since the beginning of development of technologies belonging to different space programs, it has been clearly seen that India had been facing number of successes and failures during the developmental era. A separate organization has been established, which is restricted to perform new discoveries, inventions and research over the development and production of new technologies that could benefit Indian states in different aspects. The organization established was named as Indian Space Research Organization. The organization made was responsible to introduce different technologies belonging to the use of satellites and other space developments, so that it could benefit India and make it proceed towards the path of success. (Dewan, 2005)


Since, we have been discussing about the development of new technologies of India, it is important that we must also consider what types of technologies are being invented by Indian Army, and Research departments, which must be considered as threats to Pakistan. One of the most important and major developments of India is their own satellite system. With the help of using this satellite, they have made multiple advancements in different fields, which mainly includes, access to the sensing of communication and presence of other country’s troops within the premises or out of the premises of their country, and also they will be able to listen what communication is being made within the neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan. (Lele, 2011)

As we have observed on a worldwide basis, that almost every other country has been evolving in terms of technological advancements. However, the impact of technology is now greatly affecting the security sector of the countries as well. Like many other countries, India has also evolved their country in so many ways, and has become one of the largest countries of the world possessing some of the most modified and latest technologies, which they use for their security purposes. One of such advancement is known as the Revolution in Military Affair (RMA). Since, India had been facing multiple Cold wars with a number of its neighboring countries, mainly including Pakistan and china; therefore they have organized a separate organization, which is solely responsible for intensifying and enhancing the security processes of their country. RMA is also one of its establishments, whose core job is to provide different new researches and developments in the department of Military Affairs. In these affairs, they not only produce and improvise their technology, but, their technological element revolves around an extremely intelligent and smart use of information and communication in such a way that it will help the country greatly to provide smart and authentic ways of security to India. Some of the examples and inventions that have been used by this organization include high-tech sensors, robust information systems and stealth technologies, which are responsible for supporting the C4ISR system. The term C4ISR system stands for command, communication, control, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. (Lele, 2011)

Focus of the Study

This study is focused on the analysis of the Space program of India with an in-depth study of how it gas groomed in skills and equipment. Moving further the study will focus on analyzing the vulnerabilities of Pakistan in operating the defense operations.

Scope of the Study

This research will help us develop deeper understanding about the Indian Space Technology and the advances it has adopted in the course of time.  The study will unfold the true potentials Indian owns and the possible threats to national security of Pakistan. Resulting, this research will offer better response strategies to cope the matter.

Research Approach Adopted

The study will be performed on the basis of available literature on the virtual libraries. 





A program was being invented and introduced by the chief architects of Indian Army, namely Satish Dhawan and Vikram Sarabhai, in the year of 1960, The Indian Space Program was mainly established, in order to use the space technologies, services and other products for different and varying purposes. The space satellite which was previously being invented by some of the Indian astronauts, which was their own satellite, was being used in a variety of ways for the betterment of different departments of India, and also make their country sound and secure from the attacks of their neighboring countries. The space program was not only meant to be used for providing a better security to the country, but also the program was being used for number of other purposes which includes, improving the communicational means, meteorology, and also for natural resource management. Afterwards, in the year of 1992, Indian Space Program established and made one of their most successful and outstanding invention and innovation, with the help of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) was the development of its commercial outlet, and named it as Antrix, which is pronounced as Antariksha in Sanskrit language. Initially, the organization mainly worked for the development and production of certain equipment, instruments and different services, which were mainly associated with Space Programs. Also, they focused mainly on the experimental and low capability projects so that proper experience could be acquired by the Indian scientists to proceed further in development and advancements of technologies. However, on initial basis, India had to face multiple failures, since most of the equipment, instruments and different technological programs innovated and produced by them, failed miserably, whereas some of their advancements with respect to space programs were also considered as remarkable. One of their most efficient inventions was remote sensing satellites. After a lot of struggle, hard work and efforts, India was finally able to launch their first satellite within space in the year of 1975. (Khattak, 2011)


The initiative of Indian Space Program was taken in the year on 1963, with the help of the Tumba equatorial Rocket launching Station. Furthermore, later on a department for space developments and technologies was being established by the Indian government in the year of 1972, so that Indian Army could be able to achieve more establishments and new developments in order to make their security processes better and authentic. As we have discussed already in our previous section that, the chief architect of Indian army named Vikram Sarabhai, launched their first satellite, and since then the Indian forces have been enjoying the full support from the government of India and had been taking numerous advantages from the government for different purposes. Since the beginning of the first launch of satellites from the Indian army, the Indian Army have been raising and producing multiple other satellites for their different economical and civilian purposes. However, majority of the satellites which are being made can be used for dual purposes including their military navigational and surveillance purposes. Furthermore, after having so many advancements in their own satellites and technologies, India is now producing and inventing different ways, through which they will be able to destroy the other satellites of their neighboring countries, so that it could become easier to attack these countries. India has also launched a rocket, naming Avatar, and this rocket is capable of taking the military and civilian satellites of the enemies within their orbits. The project was executed by the defense Research and Development Organization, and Indian space research organization in the year of 2011.  (Iqbal, 2014)

Apart from these inventions, India has also made Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle and Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle Mk III. These satellites vehicles were responsible for launching satellites into the geostationary orbits. One of the interesting facts about Indian space program is that, approximately 55 satellites have been sent into space by the Indian Army, whereas 11 are under consideration.  Out of these 55 satellites that have been sent to space, around 20 satellites were being launched for the observation and evaluation of earth, while 24 of the satellites were found to be geostationary, 4 were sent to execute the space missions and the last 4 satellites were sent as the experimental small satellites. Indi has also been working on various other fields, including space laser technologies since the mid years of 1990’s. according to a news report, which was being published by the Asia Times, it reported that India was considering to launch a space cell, which will be manned by three armed forces of Indian Army, and this cell will be used for various purposes including offensive and counter offensive purposes. And also, the space cell was also developed and invented under consideration and supervision of ISRO. (Dewan, 2005)

One of the major threats to Pakistani forces is location of the Indian remote sensing center. As we have observed and evaluated in detail, the remote sensing center of India is located near to the premises of Hyderabad-Deccan. This location has found to be very close from the Pakistan’s city Rahim Yar Khan, and both of the cities seem to be sharing borders with each other. This is a problem that needs to be considered, as it could be a major concern for Pakistan Army, as India will be able to overhear all the communications made within Pakistan military forces, and they might know about the secret missions and agents of Pakistan, which should never be known by any other country. (Iqbal, 2014)


In order to have a detailed knowledge about the types of satellites, it is important that we must know about the satellites themselves, prior to moving further. Satellites can be defined as a type of technology, which usually orbits around a planet or a star. In our case, as we have observed, it can be clearly seen that since earth revolves around Sun, therefore Earth will be considered as a satellite for sun, as it orbits around the sun. Similarly, the moon is considered as a satellite for the earth, since it revolves around the earth. Both earth and moon comes under the category of natural satellites of the world. Whereas, there are certain artificial and man-made technologies as well which act as satellite. Thus, the term satellite can also be used for a machine which is being launched into the space, in order to revolve around the earth, to be considered as earth’s satellite. There are few different types of satellites, which can be described in detail below:


This type of satellite is mainly used for evaluating and analyzing the distant stars and objects, which are present in the space. The satellite belonging to India, which is solely responsible for analyzing different stars and distant objects within the space, is known as ASTROSAT. With the help of this satellite, they mainly support their astronomy department and organization, also the Indian Space Research Organization also deals with astronomical satellites, apart from only military, security and other navigational purposes. Furthermore, the most popular and renowned satellites is known as the Hubble Telescope. But, since the satellite was being used since a longs a time, therefore it has reached to end of its life, however it has enabled an enormous number of astronauts and scientists to see many things that would otherwise would not have been possible to be observed by the humans. (htt8)


There are multiple uses and applications of Astronomy satellites, some of these applications are mentioned below:

             With the help of these satellites, it becomes much easier for the astronauts to observe and evaluate the shapes of the stars, and also the navigation of these stars can be performed, with the help of which, proper maps can be made by observing these stars.

             There are numerous mysterious phenomenons and a huge variety of uncovered stories present within and outside the world. With the help of these satellites, these undercover stories and unrevealed mysteries of world and outer space can be easily find out, such as Black Holes and Quasars.

             Most importantly, one of the major application of this satellite is that, multiple pictures can be taken of the solar system and different planets of this solar system, also the stars which are not included in the solar system can be easily captured with the help of these satellites and then evaluate and analyzed further in the laboratories for further studying.

             The satellite can also be used to make maps of different planetary surfaces. (htt8)


As the name indicates itself, these types of satellites are mainly used for communicating on longer distances. A huge variety of communication satellites are present within our orbit, however some of the famous satellites of India, which are mainly used for communication purposes over extremely longer distances are known as INSAT and GSAT. With the help of these satellites, different telecommunication programs and software have been developed to facilitate the people of India, as well as people outside of India.

It has also been observed that, INSAT is considered as one of the largest communication satellites of the Asia Pacific region, and this satellite is placed in the Geo-stationary orbits. The INSAT communication system is extremely popular and famous for their advanced domestic communication skills, throughout the Asian region.

Furthermore, as we have discussed earlier about the satellites being present around the orbit of the earth, these satellites are responsible for promoting and providing the communication between different people, belonging to different parts of the world, over vast distance, thereby overcoming the curvature of the Earth’s surface. Moreover, it can also be evaluated that, the category of communication satellites, can also be sub categorized under different categories. Some satellites are used for point-to-point telecommunication links. Whereas, some of the satellites are used for mobile communications, and there are other ones too which can be used for direct broadcasting. There are also some small satellites, which can be used for mobile phone style communications. (Lele, 2011)


This type of satellite is mainly used for observing and analyzing the outer structure of Earth’s surface. Therefore, for this reason, these satellites are also known as geographical satellites. However, with respect to India, the most famous geographical satellites of India are IRS and RESOURCESAT which are merely used by the astronauts to observe different aspects of the Earth from outer space. (htt8)


The data which is obtained from the Geographical satellites can be used for a number of different purposes and operations, which may include, gathering information about different agricultural aspects of India, water resources of the country, flood and weather forecasting, disaster management, environment, forestry, drought and ocean resources.  With the help of these satellites, it becomes easier for the astronauts and observers to understand and acquire knowledge of multiple aspects of earth’s surface, from outer space, which cannot be achieved from the longer distances, even if the aircraft is being going on a higher altitude, still it cannot provide sufficient information, which can be attained by using these satellites. With the help of these earth observation satellites, many geographical features have become obvious, and they have been used in minerals such as exploitation.


One of the most common and renowned type of satellite is known as the navigation satellite. With the help of this satellite, it becomes easier to locate and navigate your desired locations, in any part of the world where this navigation satellite is being supported. Initially, the first navigation satellite was being launched by US, and they named it as GPS, Global Positioning system. However, this satellite was then later being used by multiple other countries as well, by a number of commercial and private users. India has also launched their own navigational satellite with the name of IRNSS, the term indicates for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. (htt8)


These satellites are responsible to be used as the services for observing and seeing the objects on the ground, and therefore, they are used for military purposes. Moreover, their performance and operation is kept secret and not publicized. DRONES are also a part of reconnaissance system. (htt8)


As the name is indicating itself, weather satellites are used for forecasting the future weather of the country. These satellites have supported the weather department in a great ay, by enhancing and authenticating their weather forecasts, by using these satellites, and providing exact information about what changes in weather will take place. Apart from identifying the changes in weather, this satellite also enables the weather forecasting department to make them aware regarding some future calamities that are near to be occurred. INDIA’S Kalpana-1 and INSAT-3A are a part of these weather satellites. (htt8)


Lastly, the student satellite is responsible for influencing the students to use these satellites in making and innovating different things. ISRO has influenced a huge number of students remarkably, to produce and invent their own satellites, and use them in a variety of new experimentations and discoveries. Number of satellites has been launched by the students of India, including remote sensing, astronomy and for communication. Moreover, there was a recent discovery observed, a satellite, which was named as Chandrayaan-1, was recently launched which increased and enhanced the interest of universities and institutions towards making experimental student satellites. (htt8)


There are multiple programs which come under the category of Indian Space Program. Some of them are discussed below:

?             INSAT:

The term INSAT can be abbreviated as Indian National Satellite system, which is one of the largest domestic communication satellite system in Asia-pacific region. It has almost nine different operational satellites and they are placed in the Geo-stationary orbit. The INSAT system is mainly responsible for providing a huge number of services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue Operations. (htt9)

?             EDUSAT PROGRAMME:

This was considered as one of the finest developments of the technological advancements of India, the satellite was mainly designed to be used for educational purposes. The satellite was mainly launched by the Geo-synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F01) in the year of 2004. It was considered as India’s first thematic satellite, which was responsible for producing audio and visual medium for the students who are unable to hear and watch, that means for the deaf and blind people. This was a really good initiative taken by the Indian government which has been exceptionally remarkable in the history of India.  It requires multimedia, and multimedia centric classrooms, to support the multimedia operations. (Dewan, 2005)


INSAT has been providing a privilege of watching TV mainly for the primary school children. (ETV) stands for Educational TV Services. (Dewan, 2005)


With the help of this program, the hospitals and dispensaries of small villages and towns, their doctors and other officials are connected with the doctors of bigger hospitals and health centers in big cities and towns, so that direct consultation could be provided by the experienced doctors to the doctors of villages and small towns. (Dewan, 2005)

?             TELEVISION:

INSAT has also been used widely for the coverage of variety of Indian channels, it covers approximately 100% area and 100% population now. All of the satellite TV channels have become digitalized. (htt8)


India has made multiple advancements with respect to different types of satellites, and also have been an active member of the CORPAS-SARSAT programme. This program is responsible for providing alerts and alarms; in case of any sort of distress and position location service through LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) satellite system. with the help of this satellite system, India had established their two local user terminals (LUTs), these LUTs provide coverage to a great part of India including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. (htt9)


With the help of this satellite, it is easier for the people of India to pre-locate the area where disaster is going to take place, and also by using both imaging and communications, timely identification of disasters can occur by using this satellite, and these disasters can be treated and managed efficiently and effectively. This progamme evaluates and identifies different disasters including floods, cyclones, drought, forest, fire, landslide and earthquakes. (htt9)


Pakistan, as compared to India, is not really advanced in terms of its Space program, however the major researches of the space are being performed by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco). It consists of the launching of sounding rockets and satellites applications, particularly remote sensing and communications. Additionally, Suparco’s aim and objective is to build an Aerospace Institute, in which the studies of satellites and space will be taken further. This Commission is extremely active in international forums including UN COPUOS, Cospar, IAF and IUCN. (htt9)


 One of the most important and attention-seeking advancement in technological equipment of India is called as ELINT, which can be abbreviated as Electronic intelligence satellite. This type of satellite is mainly responsible for over hearing all the communication with the help of a network-centric communication intelligent satellite, from the neighboring countries. This is a serious threat to Pakistani security, since because of this satellite Indian Army will be able to hear all of the private communication which is being made within the Pakistan Army.  ELINT is an area where the Defense Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) is situated, and this lab is mainly responsible for developing such satellite through which all the communication, that is being going on within their neighboring countries can be heard by Indian Army easily. However, the development and introduction of this type of satellite had been observed to be extremely expensive for Indian Army, and such technologies were present in some of the biggest countries of the world economically including US, European nations etc. but soon after the development of this satellite, India is also considered as one of the most popular countries, who are rich in military resources and technologies. (Iqbal, 2014)


In the seventh report, provided by the Standing Committee on Defense, in thirteenth Lok Sabha, which had occurred in the year of 2000, there was a recommendation made in the conference, according to which, there should be a development of an aerospace command, as a part of the plan for modernization of the IAF. According to the Defense Ministry, they stated that the space technologies can be used in different ways by the IAF. The ways described by the Defense Ministry include:

a) To build real-time situational awareness through space communication and space sensors.

b) To link radar and other communications networks over the entire length and breadth of the country;

c) To assist in Ballistic Missile Defense;

d) To gather real-time intelligence about enemy aircraft, missiles and space-borne threats; and

e) To prevent the enemy from using its space assets by resorting to jamming. (Khattak, 2011)


The space technologies have military utility in regard to communication, reconnaissance and navigation. Since, some of the recent wars that have taken place within the last few decades, we have observed that space technologies have a huge impact upon different aspects of War within different countries. As we have seen in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of space technology have been observed widely on a large scale, with respect to different military operations. This impact of space technology over different military operations is known as Militarization of Space, which has become one of the most important factors and aspects of today’s world. (Dewan, 2005)


According to our detailed report, which Pakistan is greatly lacking in terms of the Space Program from India. India has made multiple advancements, developments and technologies in order to keep their nation secure from the threats and attacks of their neighboring countries. Therefore, it is highly recommended to Pakistan Military services, that they need to pay attention towards this great lacking of our country, and should also take some measures to improve the poor condition of Pakistan with respect to Air Space Programming. For this purpose, it is recommended that a proper Aerospace institute must be built and developed, and current and latest technologies must be kept in that institute and its laboratory, so that the upcoming future students of Pakistan could experiment and develop new technologies in this field, and Pakistan could become a more safer place for us. (Iqbal, 2014)


With the help of this research paper, we have become able to find out different aspects of Indian Space Programs, its affectivity and success since the beginning. This paper helps to find out an individual about different types of satellites and their uses, as well as we have also discussed in detail about the Indian Air Space Program and their Research Organization. (Mehmud, 1989)

Since, we have observed and performed a detailed literature review above, through which it has been established and evaluated that India is becoming more powerful day by day in terms of their new advancements and developments of new technologies, whereas Pakistan, being comparatively poor and lower country from India, not only in terms of financial aspects, but also  Pakistan is quiet smaller than India in terms of its area, population, educational aspects and many other factors are included to consider Pakistan behind from India. Therefore, it must be kept in mind by Pakistani Armed Forces and also by our government, that in order to keep peace with India, and also to fight against India, if conditions and situation between both countries get worse, Pakistan must be equally prepared to fight against them. (Mehmud, 1989)

India is investing a lot in the field of space technology specially for the military purposes. In 2010 India’s budget only for space program was almost 100 million US dollars which is a big amount with an increase of 35% from 2009. This investment can start a space militarization race between India and Pakistan and also is very dangerous for the security of the region. Pakistan Army must be considering all these aspects and should work accordingly for the betterment of our country by investing more amount of money in this area. (Lele, 2011)




Thus, we have clearly evaluated in detail about the Air Space Program of India, its failures and its success as well, and also after observing and analysing in detail about the advancement and technological developments of Indian Army, with respect to satellite, that can be used in military for navigating and detecting the communications, occurring within the premises of Pakistan Army, it is a matter of serious problem, which needs to be considered important by the Pakistan Army and Pakistani government, and they need to pay attention towards this issue and take preventive measures accordingly, so that the security concerns of people of Pakistan can be removed. However, we have observed that Pakistan is a stronger country as it is provided with nuclear power, but according to the demands of today’s world, being a nuclear power is not sufficiently enough, as the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, particularly India, which is considered as the biggest enemy of Pakistan is provided with numerous technological advancements. These advancements can be used by them in a negative manner to spy on Pakistan and find out about their secret missions and secret agents, which will be considered as the biggest failure of Pakistani Army and Pakistani states. Therefore, it is highly recommended that Pakistani government should pay deeper attention towards this matter and take important measures to avoid the failures and defeats from their enemies. (Iqbal, 2014)


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