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India deploys new military reconnaissance satellite to observe Indian Ocean region

An Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chandrayaan 2 Module on GSLV MK III rocket. (ISRO photo/Released)
March 04, 2021

On Sunday, February 28, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its 51st mission of PSLV expendable Rocket C-51 to deploy Brazil’s Amazonia Communication Satellite with another 18 satellites from India, including five microsatellites by Indian university students.

In those 18 satellite constellations, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) included the “Sindhu Netra” reconnaissance and surveillance satellite on the rocket.

Developed by a young generation of scientists in the DRDO, the Sindhu Netra satellite is capable of automatically identifying the warships and merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean region. The satellite has also started communicating with ground systems after successfully deploying in low earth orbit.

The Sindhu Netra is a microsatellite comprised of tracking and observation instruments to conduct various ranges of vessel identification sailing in the deep sea of the Indian Ocean region. The satellite will help to identify military and civilian vessels. Acting as Sea Vigil over deep seas, these types of satellites will build India’s ambitious constellation of reconnaissance military satellites.

The satellite is capable of carrying out surveillance in specific areas, such as the South China Sea or the pirate-infested areas near the Gulf of Aden and the African coast, a government official said.

Further, the information stated that Sindhu Netra is one of the first in the series of satellites that would help the nation in enhancing its surveillance capabilities on land in areas such as the Ladakh region with China and the border with Pakistan.

Seeking to observe the activities of the Chinese military both near the Indian northern border region and its vast territory along the 4,000 kilometer Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian forces and intelligence agencies will need at least four to six dedicated satellites that can help them keep track of their adversary’s moves, both on water and land.

India already employs dedicated military satellites in healthy numbers, but to diversify the assets to assert 100% surveillance over the strategic lanes and routes, Indian scientists must focus on microsatellites more to increase the numbers of such assets in space to counterbalance China.