Gearing up for space wars(Hindu summary-2nd July 2018)

www.iasinsights.in ; www.iasgyaan.com posts Hindu  summary about US plan for Space wars 

Gearing up for space wars

The Hindu

Context:

Surprise announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump in June about the creation of a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces. More than their war-fighting attributes, space weapons have one principal function — deterrence.

History:

The imperative by America to build space weapons, which is nothing new, goes back to the Cold War, an example being the Strategic Defense Initiative of the Reagan Administration

Domestic impact

  • The intention is to see that the U.S. establishes and maintains dominance in space
  • U.S. Air Force — historically a major constituency and votary for space weapons — is not entirely enthusiastic about this new service, which could take resources
  • A new space force is not merely a brand new service; it potentially increases greater organisational uncertainty within the U.S. military.
  • Adding another military arm would only compound the organisational challenges facing the U.S. armed services.
  1. it could undercut ongoing missions.
  2. It could very well increase budgetary allocations in the future.
  3. A space corps could undermine American efforts in the domain of joint warfare.

Challenges for space corps:

  1. Physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris.
  2. Despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
  3. Funding also a major concern
  4. The exponential growth in China’s space military capabilities over the last two decades.

China and Russia’s responses:

  1. China not interested in US dominance as it affects its “Assassin Mace” technologies (an array of kinetic and non-kinetic means of attack) — capabilities that are geared to help win wars rapidly.
  2. Russia made it clear that it will vigorously take on the U.S, by aligning with China as Russia is deficit of resources.

Implication on India

  1. India is officially committed to PAROS, or the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
  2. India has yet to establish a credible space command of its own.
  3. Beijing’s reaction possess a formidable space military programme that far exceeds current Indian capabilities.

What is PAROS?

  • The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) is a UN resolution that reaffirms the fundamental principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and advocates for a ban on the weaponization of space.
  • The PAROS resolution acknowledges the limitations of existing laws related to outer space and recognizes that the Outer Space Treaty “by itself does not guarantee the prevention of an arms race in outer space.”
  • It further measures to prevent an arms race in outer space by, among other things, urging all state parties, particularly those with space capabilities, to adhere to the objectives of PAROS.
  • In addition, it calls on the Conference on Disarmament (CD)—the UN disarmament negotiating forum—to establish an adhoc committee regarding PAROS resolution issues.
  • In 1981, debate over the weaponization of outer space led the CD to begin talks regarding the potential for a PAROS treaty.
  • The CD established an ad hoc committee on PAROS in 1985.  However, Western opposition, particularly from the United States, thwarted treaty negotiations and the committee was dissolved in 1994.

What India need to do?

  • India must come out with an official white paper on space weapons.
  • The government needs to engage with multiple stakeholders directly about the role space weapons will play in India’s grand strategy.

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