India has been developing "space deterrence" technologies which would be able to knock out enemy satellites, the country's military research chief has revealed.
"We are working on a number of technologies like DEWs (directed-energy weapons), lasers, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and co-orbital weapons etc. I can't divulge the details, but we are taking them forward," G. Satheesh Reddy, the head of India's military R&D agency DRDO, told reporters on Saturday, according to The Times of India.
Directed-energy weapons, which today still remain experimental, generate a targeted non-lethal or lethal beam; types of DEWs include lasers, microwave weapons, sonic weapons, and particle-beam weapons.
Co-orbital anti-satellite weapons are satellites armed with, for instance, explosives or lasers, which can destroy or disrupt an adversary's space assets.
G. Satheesh Reddy was quoted as saying that the government is to decide on the "weaponisation" of anti-satellite systems or the creation of an Aerospace Military Command, adding that India does not intend to carry out additional tests of its new "satellite-killer".
"Space has gained importance in the military domain. The best way to ensure security is to have deterrence," he added.
Last month, India became the fourth nation to possess a satellite-destroying weapon, joining Russia, the United States, and China. On 27 March, the country conducted an anti-satellite missile test, hitting a defunct Indian satellite at an altitude of 300 kilometres.
This news raised concerns from the US space agency, NASA, and India's arch-foe, Pakistan. NASA called the test "unacceptable" and claimed that 400 pieces of debris which emerged as a result of the satellite destruction could pose a threat to the International Space Station (ISS). India, however, rebuffed the claim and said that the space junk was not a danger to the station.
Islamabad, for its part, branded India's test "a matter of grave concern" with ramifications for "long-term sustainability" and regional security.
G. Satheesh Reddy described the missile as a "direct-ascent, kinetic kill weapon", adding that it is "feasible" to hit multiple satellites with multiple launches of such missiles, which can go as high up into space as 1,000 kilometres.