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Himanshu Dwivedi asked: What is the relevance of the Integrated Space Cell?

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  • Ajey Lele replies: India is committed to the non-weaponisation of space but needs to counter any emergence of offensive counter space systems and anti-satellite weaponry. China undertook an anti-satellite test (ASAT) test in 2007. This test made India realise the importance of space security. It was felt that India lacks ‘structures’ to address such new threats. Hence, in 2010, the then Defence Minister had announced the formation of an Integrated Space Cell. It was formed under the aegis of the Integrated Defence Services Headquarters, as a single window between the armed forces, Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to work out measures to protect India's space-based assets.

    In June 2011, the Indian Government had appointed a Task Force on National Security, which was famously known as the Naresh Chandra Task Force. This task force had made various important recommendations and one such recommendation was about the establishment of a tri-service Aerospace Command (to be headed by a three-star general). Later, in 2019, the government decided to upgrade the Integrated Space Cell to the Defence Space Agency (DSA), headed by a two-star general.

    Posted on June 14, 2021

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.