What are satellite tracking and imaging stations?
- Satellite tracking centers are ground based monitoring stations setup by space research organizations like ISRO and NASA, that help tracking satellite positions and data after launch.
- India already has few ground based tracking stations in Brunei, Biak (Indonesia) and Mauritius but they don't receive images from satellites.
- However, the one being setup in Vietnam will have imaging technology for agriculture, scientific and environmental applications.
Blurring civilian-military lines
Security analysts believe that, with improvement in technology, civilian imaging technologies can be used for military purposes as well
Growing closeness between India and Vietnam
4 Jan 2016
- The South China Sea (SCS), rich in oil, fisheries and an important sea route, has seen increasing territorial expansion by China in the form of construction of artificial islands.
- Vietnam considers China's moves as an "infringement of sovereignty".
- ISRO's Data Reception, Tracking and Telemetry station at Ho Chi Minh City, will boost Vietnam's monitoring capabilities as it may have access to real-time imagery.
China offended by India's move
6 Jan 2016
- China however, sees India's move as an interference from outside power in the South China Sea (SCS) region.
- A Chinese think tank had said that India is unnecessarily creating trouble and complicating regional disputes.
- China also criticized India's moves as "toeing the US, Japan line".
- However, India had always advocated freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes in South China Sea region.
Indian satellite tracking station to assist Vietnam
25 Jan 2016
- India may soon have a satellite tracking station in Vietnam that will not only offer satellite tracking facilities to India but also enable India and Vietnam to observe Chinese activities.
- Although it will be a civilian facility, it may irk China which is already mired in territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea.
- The project may cost India $23 million.
Strategic advantage to India
25 Jan 2016
- ISRO's satellite tracking station will be first such foreign facility in Vietnam.
- Although Vietnam had launched its earth observatory in 2013, it does not have high resolution imaging capability.
- ISRO's observation satellite, covering SCS, will offer better capabilities to Vietnam and also provide India with a strategic asset in the region.
- Vietnam has in return offered oil exploration blocks in Vietnamese waters to India.
New base: Satellite monitoring station in Vietnam to give India room in South China Sea region - The Economic Times
PC: 'South China Sea claims 2' by South China Sea claims. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons