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India building satellite tracking station in Vietnam to track China's movements in South China sea

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:29 IST
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  • Hanoi has been looking for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies as tensions rise with China over the disputed South China Sea.
  • India\'s new satellite monitoring station in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will allow ease of tracking and receiving data from India-launched satellites, and will also be a strategic asset in the South China Sea region.

According to reports by Reuters, India is planning to set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam that will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region - including China and the South China Sea.

The report, confirmed by various indian officials, further adds that the move could irritate Beijing and deepen ties between India and Vietnam. Both have long-running territorial disputes with China.

The project has been billed as a civilian facility. Hanoi has been looking for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies as tensions rise with China over the disputed South China Sea, the report said.

"In military terms, this move could be quite significant," said Collin Koh, a marine security expert at Singapore's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. "It looks like a win-win for both sides, filling significant holes for the Vietnamese and expanding the range for the Indians."

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to fund and set up the satellite tracking and data reception centre in Ho Chi Minh City to monitor Indian satellite launches, the Indian officials added.

"India, whose 54-year-old space programme is accelerating, with one satellite launch scheduled every month, has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight. The Vietnam facility will bolster those capabilities," said ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik.

ISRO's project in South China Sea region is an asset to India

India's new satellite monitoring station in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will not only help the country track and receive data from India-launched satellites, but will also be a strategic asset in the South China Sea region.

The satellite monitoring station was built at a cost of Rs 152 crore. It will be activated soon and linked with another Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) data reception, tracking and telemetry station located in Biakin, Indonesia.

India has a similar station in Brunei. The station at Ho Chi Minh City is an important asset for India in the South China Sea region - which is seen as crucial for Asian affairs given that it is a major shipping lane which makes it a gateway for significant global trade.

Over the past few years, China has been aggressive with regard to the South China Sea, claiming it as part of its territory and creating artificial islands in it - within the territorial waters of Vietnam and the Philippines and their exclusive economic zones.

First published: 26 January 2016, 12:21 IST
 
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