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30-03-2018

EDITORIAL FrIDAy, MArCH

EDITORIAL FrIDAy, MArCH 30, 2018 4 Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam Telephone: +8802-9104683-84, Fax: 9127103 e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com Friday, March 30, 2018 Spoon feeding state sector banks It appears the country's state run banks have become like a bottomless pit devouring huge public resources year after year to keep them artificially afloat. Needless to say, the monies are being poured into these institutions just to cover up fearful capital shortages they have been incurring without a pause or a turnaround. The injection of public resources progressively have been going into an endless black void. The deficits of these banks cosmetically made up with taxpayers' money would make sense if their management showed any sign that the continuous loss making had at last stopped and a strong comeback was noted. But this is not the case which raises inexorably the question :why go on spoon feeding these banks without a structured plan and its execution to ensure that their management are truly streamlined, made accountable and obliged to work towards ways and means to cut losses, really improve credit management and attempt swiftest recoveries of bad debts. As it is, it appears that none of these goals are being pressed with any great enthusiasm. Only at every fiscal year's end, fresh additions of public funds are made into these banks to give them an apparent look of normalcy and perpetuate in their lossmaking culture. A recent media report quoting an official study said Taka 2,000 crore has been already pumped into the ailing state sector banks in the on going fiscal year. It further says the government has provided some 10,000 crore Taka to these banks for the window dressing of their balance sheets in the last five years. All these figures are not only head-spinning but outrageous surely for the reasons that inefficiencies, corruption and sheer thievery are being so unconscionably allowed by the very guardians of our financial system namely the Finance Ministry and the Bangladesh Bank (BB). The Finance Minister at times have admitted to these gross irregularities in the state run banks. In characteristic fashion he heaped scorn on their management, political interference, cronyism and other ills for the situation in the state run banks. But the obvious question that cannot help but arise is :what he himself, as the supreme regulator of the financial system in this country has done so far to ensure the stemming of the rot in the state run banks. As it is, he is presiding over the entire financial sector and cannot disown or distance himself from any grave mal functioning in it just saying that he is powerless to do anything about it or it's not his business. He must take responsibility for any major pitfall in the financial sector. Nor he can pass the buck explaining that BB also as the regulator is not delivering as expected. All insiders know that independence of the BB is a theoretical construct. The Banking Division of the Finance Ministry remains to curb the independent moves of the BB as it choses. And successive Governors of BB are on record for stating to the media how their specific directives for taking curative and punitive actions against unscrupulous elements in the management tiers of the state run banks were thwarted by the busybodies in the Ministry. The state of affairs in the state run banks have crossed the threshold of risk affordability and reasonableness. The same must be addressed immediately and decisively with unsparing measures set in motion from the highest level of the government. Trade and Iran: Trump/Bolton may push Europe into China’s arms US President Donald Trump may be playing with fire. His administration has exempted the European Union from heavy duties on imported steel and aluminum. The exemption will last until May 1. A few days later, on May 13, Trump must decide whether to waive sanctions on Iran pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal arranged by the world community in 2015 to curb the military projection of Tehran's nuclear program. So within the next 40 days or so, the EU will be called on to find an accommodation with Trump on both his metal tariffs and his request to support changes in the Iran nuclear pact. Given the US president's transactional approach to foreign policy, and the temporal coincidence of the two negotiations, he could be tempted to barter a permanent exemption from trade tariffs for the EU's backing of modifications to the JCPOA. Trump has tried to use a similar tactic with China, linking negotiations on the reduction of the Chinese trade surplus with the United States to the North Korean nuclear crisis. In January, the US president suspended nuclear-related penalties on Iran for another four months. But he also threatened to scrap the nuke accord if EU signatories did not agree to change part of it. What he wants is a supplemental agreement to limit Tehran's uranium enrichment IT is easy to be alarmist about a topic like the level of the national debt, and it is equally easy to mislead people into thinking that the problem presents some sort of an emergency. So at the outset, let's understand it is a natural and desirable thing that all sovereign governments should carry some level of debt, and that often this debt will be very large by comparison to the size of the economy. By itself, debt is not a problem, and cutting the numbers to try and show that "each citizen of Pakistan owes X amount of money" is a totally misleading presentation of the facts. No government should ever seek to be totally debt free. What matters most when talking about national debt is not the absolute amount of the debt, but the carrying capacity of the government or the economy. So when a country like Japan has a national debt that is 253 per cent of its GDP in 2017, the figure may sound alarming because Pakistan has only 60pc. The problem for Pakistan is that our revenues, exports, remittances and foreign investment levels are not rising nearly as fast as they need to in order to enable us to carry even this smaller level of national debt. Having said that, let me carefully present a picture of where our external debt is going until the year 2023, because something very important is happening in the coming few years and there needs to be greater awareness and debate about this. What appeared to be a relatively stable external financing situation last summer today looks like a dismal path to Among the biggest environment news stories to grab the headlines this year has been the water crisis in Cape Town and the count down to 'Day Zero', when taps in the city of four million people are expected to run dry. While Cape Town may have averted Day Zero until 2019 - thanks to extreme water rationing and an anticipated increase in rainfall - this crisis should serve as a wakeup call to the rest of the world. Today, 60 per cent of the world's population lives in water-stressed areas, where the demand for this precious resource far exceeds supply. That number is likely to rise: Living with climate change means that we can expect to see more abnormal rainfall patterns, which in turn, could mean longer periods of drought and extreme flooding. The world now realises the gravity of climate deviance - the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York adopted a unanimous resolution to launch the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development - a 10-year action plan comprising programmes and initiatives that are geared to place a greater emphasis on the integrated management of water resources. Clean, accessible water is critical for sustainable development, and is indispensable for human health, wellbeing and prosperity. This is especially relevant to the UAE, which is one of the most arid places in the world. To put things in perspective, earlier this month, New York City received about 11 inches of snowfall on just one day, whereas the annual precipitation in the UAE is around four inches. Exacerbating the climate situation, the UAE's population has grown permanently, bolster the regime of international inspections, and impose new penalties if the Iranians develop or test long-range missiles. Trump's new national security adviser, Iran hawk John Bolton, has probably been picked to oversee Washington's possible withdrawal from the JCPOA. The EU has several times joined China and Russia in emphasizing that the nuclear pact is working. As for the Iranian missile program, European leaders believe it should be dealt with outside the scope of the JCPOA. This, combined with the EU's firm belief that the artificial deadline set by Trump is not conducive to resolving the problem of steel and aluminum overcapacity, makes any bargaining game by the US president a risky gamble. Trans-Atlantic relations are already at a historical low. EMANUELE SCIMIA KHUrrAM HUSAIN Aside from bilateral trade and Iranian military activities, Trump has disagreements with the EU and its member countries over their financing commitments to the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Israeli- Palestinian crisis and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Washington and European chanceries apparently agree only on one thing, In January, the US president suspended nuclearrelated penalties on Iran for another four months. But he also threatened to scrap the nuke accord if EU signatories did not agree to change part of it. What he wants is a supplemental agreement to limit Tehran's uranium enrichment permanently, bolster the regime of international inspections, and impose new penalties if the Iranians develop or test long-range missiles. Russia, blamed and sanctioned for the recent poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter in Britain. If the US president were to force the hand of European allies further, he could push them back into China's fold. At the outset of Trump's presidency, the EU and Beijing stepped up bilateral cooperation to safeguard free trade and multilateralism. That entente against the protectionist "bogeyman" in the Fear of debt bankruptcy. The data that follows is from the latest Post Programme Monitoring report of the IMF, which is based entirely on data provided by the government, so these are official numbers. The reason they merit detailed scrutiny is because the government's numbers are telling us one story, whereas its words are telling us another. With its words the government acknowledges that levels of external debt are set to rise very sharply in the years to come, but the carrying capacity of the economy will improve and make this debt sustainable due to CPEC investments which will boost productivity in the economy. But the data in the Fund's report shows otherwise. Start with this: Pakistan's total external debt is projected to rise from $93.4 billion this fiscal year, to $145bn by 2023, in five years time. At a 50pc increase in five years, this is one of the from less than one million people in the 1970s to well over nine million today, accompanied by rapid industrialisation and dramatic levels of economic and social development - as well as a formidable increase in the demand for water. Alarmingly, our consumption levels remain among the highest in the world. Going back to the example of Cape Town, currently water is rationed at 50 litres per capita per day. At the same time, in the UAE, we use 550 litres per capita per day - more than 10 times the allowance for a person in Cape Town, and more than double the world average. Given this background, it comes as no surprise that His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has articulated that water is an even more important resource for the UAE than oil. It also explains why our fastest rates of growth in recent times. The last 50pc increase in the level of external debt was in the period stretching from 2009 till 2018, ie nine years (data from IMF 2013 Article IV report). Next take a look at what they call "gross external financing needs", which includes the current account deficit, plus debt service payments in the period being projected. When Pakistan entered the IMF programme in 2013, this figure was What matters most when talking about national debt is not the absolute amount of the debt, but the carrying capacity of the government or the economy. So when a country like Japan has a national debt that is 253 per cent of its GDP in 2017, the figure may sound alarming because Pakistan has only 60pc. The problem for Pakistan is that our revenues, exports, remittances and foreign investment levels are not rising nearly as fast as they need to in order to enable us to carry even this smaller level of national debt. at $9.5bn, and was projected to stay at that level till the time the programme ended in fiscal year 2017. Instead, by the time the programme ended, the figure, $21.5bn, was well over double where it should have been. This year the figure is expected to rise to $24.5bn, and by the year 2023 it will reach $45bn. Again, this is the fastest rate of growth in gross external financing needs over a five-year period (considered THANI AHMED? AL ZEyoUDI country has been pursuing an ambitious agenda towards sustainable water security over the past decades. However, overcoming the challenge of water security is not something the UAE is pursuing only for the sake of its people. As with several other areas where the country is leading global efforts, the UAE's visionary leadership realises that policies and initiatives implemented at home can create products and knowledge that can be exported to the world and translate into a far-reaching impact. Think about it: if one of the world's most arid countries can achieve sustainable water security, it surely augurs well for the rest of the world. And, we already have a wealth of lessons to share. The UAE was one of the first countries to institute mandatory green building codes that have cut energy and water consumption by more than 33 per cent in new buildings. We have made similar interventions in agriculture and landscaping, as well as in treating White House has weakened because of disputes between the two parties over anti-dumping, investment, intellectualproperty and international-standards issues. The European bloc has adopted specific measures to face unfair commercial and investment practices by China, and Trump is seeking support from EU leaders for his tough trade policy toward Beijing. Faced with the US president's intention to slap tariffs on US$60 billion worth of Chinese exports, the Asian giant could try to turn the tables and team up with the EU again. Wang Hejun, head of the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau at China's Ministry of Commerce, said on March 13 that Beijing had "noticed" the EU's strong opposition to Trump's metal tariffs and its willingness to take countermeasures against them. Before it was given a temporary exemption, the EU had pointed out that it would work with allies and partners, as well as at the World Trade Organization, to counter Trump's duties. The European grouping believes overcapacity is the real problem in the steel and aluminum sectors, and China, as the world's largest producer and a source of global increase in capacity, has a key role to play in solving this problem. European Commission sources told Asia Times that "for the EU, the most important would be to focus on root causes of the issue." Source: Asia Times the medium-term outlook) in recent times. Incidentally, in July 2017, when the Fund made the same projections out till 2022 (five years forward), the gross external financing needs were projected at $20.6bn by the end of the period. The projections made now show these same financing needs coming in at $41.1bn in 2022 instead, meaning the projections have been revised upward very significantly already. And the borrowing binge has yet to start in earnest. So if our level of gross external debt and external financing needs are rising this fast in the next five-year period, the question is, will the economy be able to sustain this additional burden? The government claims that CPEC investments will enhance the carrying capacity of the economy and make the additional burden sustainable. The best place to look for validation of this claim is in the projections of the foreign exchange reserves. If the government's claim is true, the projections should show reserves remaining at a level sufficient to finance more than three months of imports till 2023. But the figures show the opposite. They show reserves falling to critically low levels by 2022, barely enough to finance one month's worth of imports, the level where governments are forced to seek emergency assistance. The decline is steady. Source : Dawn Leading the march to water security Given this background, it comes as no surprise that His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has articulated that water is an even more important resource for the UAE than oil. It also explains why our country has been pursuing an ambitious agenda towards sustainable water security over the past decades. wastewater and redirecting it for cooling, irrigation and industry. This approach has saved our government and companies hundreds of millions of dirhams. Masdar City is an outstanding example of an innovative and sustainable urban-development project that places water efficiency at its core. Buildings in the City are designed to consume 54 per cent less water than average buildings do in the UAE. In addition, 75 per cent of the hot water requirement is provided through thermal receptors fixed on rooftops. The use of water for irrigation, likewise, has been reduced by 60 per cent through leveraging an efficient sprinkler system and innovative landscaping methods. Moreover, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) is a major contributor to the UAE's strategy towards water security. It's many initiatives in this area include the Conservation Award, which raised awareness on the importance of water rationing among educational institutions' staff and students, leading to a cut-down of their water use by 1.4 billion gallons in 11 years. Another major initiative by Dewa is developing a smart system to remotely monitor the water distribution network and detect any defects and leaks. Dewa is also in the process of establishing a seawater reverse osmosis-based desalination plant that once completed, will reduce the operational cost of water desalination in the emirate and enhance its productivity and efficiency. Source : Gulf news

STRATEGIC ISSUES FRIDaY, MaRCh 30, 2018 5 Where is japanese military going under abe? RajesWaRI PILLaI RajagoPaLan Amid continuing tensions in the Korean Peninsula and China's rising power and aggressive behavior, it is no surprise that Japan has been taking a whole host of steps to boost its own military capabilities over the past few years under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership. While the most often cited manifestation of this is Abe's effort to reform the Japanese Constitution, there is also a wider range of measures being undertaken both in terms of what Tokyo is doing on its own as well as what it is doing with allies and partners. The past few weeks have offered indications of where Japan is on a couple of these fronts. Just last week, Abe spoke about constitutional revision at the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) annual convention in an effort to develop the required consensus to take this process forward. After the speech, the LDP decided to follow Abe's direction to amend Article 9 and include "an explicit reference to the Self-Defense Forces." This step has been seen as a requirement; several constitutional experts have called the SDF unconstitutional because "it violates the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution." Abe went on to add that the proposed amendment will bring about clarity to the SDF's status under the constitution but "it will not alter in any way Japan's national security policies." Also, in an effort to secure broader public support, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera asserted that civilian control over military will be maintained "based on prewar lessons." Following these deliberations and the continuing threats from China and North Korea, Japan has also undertaken a major organizational revamping of its Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) with the creation of a centralized command and amphibious forces, which we have been hearing more about of late. The reorganization constitutes the largest since JGSDF was formed in 1954. Instituting the new Command for the GSDF is meant to create abilities to undertake seamless and flexible operations across the country whereas the amphibious forces are meant for defending remote islands, particularly relevant in the context of China's assertive maritime posturing. In the face of the North Korean threat, a unified command for the GSDF will bring about greater synergy and coherence among the five regional armies. The defense minister, while addressing the media, stated that there will be situations in the future where the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces have to Tokyo continues to made inroads in building up its capabilities as it confronts regional security threats. Photo: Rikujojieitai Boueisho coordinate nationwide in a quick reaction against ballistic missile launches, attacks on islands, and natural disasters. The GSDF Command, headquartered at Camp Asaka in Tokyo, will be headed by Lt. Gen. Shigeru Kobayashi, former head of the GSDF's Central Readiness Force. The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade will be headed by Maj. Gen. Shinichi Aoki, who was the former deputy chief of staff of the Western Army. The naval and air wings of the SDFs already had a central command center, and now, with all the three services having their own central commands, the defense ministry believes that there will be better coordinated joint operations among the three arms of the SDF. This could also possibly create better communication linkages with the U.S. military based in Japan. While both North Korea and China are major threats to Japan, Beijing's aggressive policy in the maritime domain has been of particular concern to Tokyo. Japan has been mindful of the kind of tactics China employed in the South China Sea to alter the status quo. Thus, the amphibious brigade that has been created will have an important role in retaking islands if they are unlawfully taken. The brigade will cover southwest, from Kyushu to Taiwan, and will include Miyako Island, about 210 km from the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. This is an area that has seen increased Chinese military activity in the recent past - the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has become particularly active in the airspace between Okinawa and Miyako Islands. Additionally, Chinese naval vessels have been frequenting these waters, increasing tensions there. But amid the hype around all this, it is worth noting that the amphibious brigade is still being set up, and it could be some time before the full capacity is in place. For instance, there is uncertainty around the deployment of the U.S.-made V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, which will be key in transporting troops. The government's plans to deploy 17 of the newly procured Osprey aircraft have not gained local approval. There are broader uncertainties too. Amending the constitution is no easy task. Even as LDP lawmaker Hiroyuki Hosoda has developed consensus on the revisions on the constitution, other members of the ruling coalition are not entirely happy. Junior coalition partners like Komeito are not entirely on board with Abe's plans, and since a two-thirds majority is required in both houses of the Diet to make these constitutional changes, the math means that LDP likely needs the support of Komeito in the Lower House and the support of other smaller opposition parties in the Upper House to effect these changes. As for the support from the public, different surveys have produced different results, but those variations in and of themselves suggest that public perception is a variable that ought not to be left out in this discussion. A survey conducted by Kyodo News revealed 48.5 percent of respondents against the constitutional changes whereas 39.2 supported the amendments. Another survey conducted over telephone had shown only 33 percent of respondents supporting Abe's moves and 54.8 opposing the revisions. These numbers certainly look better than a few years ago, but Abe still faces many challenges in terms of public perception, whether it is linked to defense issues or other domestic concerns.There is opposition also within some parts of the bureaucracy. Media accounts have already surfaced citing sources from the defense ministry who criticized the move as "useless," saying it will only delay the decision-making process that is required to get things done on the defense side. Beyond these internal challenges, there are also external concerns as well. Among those are how these moves, including constitutional changes, may be perceived by China and South Korea, which have their own respective concerns about a militarized Japan. Despite all this, Abe shows few signs of easing on his military push for Japan. That is no surprise given his own personal commitment to this goal as well as the regional trends that are impacting Japan's security. Whether or not that will change, and to what extent all this lasts once he leaves office, remains to be seen. Learning From the Battle of the spratly Islands Koh sWee Lean CoLLIn The visit to Vietnam by the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Carl Vinson on March 5 is symbolic on multiple fronts. It is the first such port call to Vietnam by an American aircraft carrier since the end of the war in 1975. Plus Da Nang, where the port call took place, was also the site of the initial U.S. Marine Corps landings on March 8, 1965. Finally, as some commentators have pointed out, the move symbolizes the increasingly closer relations between Vietnam and the United States on the defense and security front, especially following the earlier decision by Washington to lift the decades-old arms embargo on Hanoi. Whether this latest visit would once and for all exorcise the ghosts of the Vietnam War - a protracted, bloody conflict that inflicted grievous losses on both sides in blood, sweat and treasure - remains to be seen. But both capitals have been optimistic about the longterm trajectory of this budding bilateral relationship, which has been carefully cultivated since the end of the Cold War. That coincided back then with Hanoi's recalibrated foreign policy, which favors independence and nonalignment/alliance, instead embracing a more outward-looking posture aimed at promoting regional economic integration, which serves the domestic agenda of "Doi Moi" (Renovation) socioeconomic development process that still continues today. Another observation about the Carl Vinson visit is that it took place just about a week before the 30th anniversary of the Battle of the Johnson South Reef on March 14, 1988. This episode, along with the earlier Battle of the Paracel Islands in 1974, which was fought between South Vietnam and China, would not have been unknown to Vietnamese military planners. These two battles saw the tactical and strategic defeat of Vietnamese forces at Chinese hands - Beijing cinched the prizes of occupying the concerned features to this day and did so at a fraction of the losses inflicted upon Vietnam. Hanoi certainly harbors no illusions about a future naval skirmish with Beijing. Both ruffled each other over the Chinese oil rig HYSY-981 in 2014, in an almost two-month-long standoff off the Paracels. Though China subsequently removed the platform, which thus could be painted as a victory for Hanoi, the lessons were hard won. That episode fortuitously did not escalate into a full-blown shooting clash similar to the 1988 event, but Vietnamese forces were exhausted by the grueling Vietnamese protesters shout slogans while showing an anti-China protest placard during a rally in south Korea. Photo: ahn Young-joo showdown. Ultimately, an asymmetry in materiel and manpower between the maritime forces of the two rivals was just too huge. In a future standoff with China, Vietnam would first have to contend with China's maritime militia and coast guard on the frontlines. But it is the People's Liberation Army Navy, which lurks in the shadows ready to leap forward to back up its paramilitary counterparts, that is of most concern. The 1988 battle saw the PLA Navy deploy three frigates - Nanchong, Xiangtan, and Yingtan - pitted against landing craft and troop transports of the Vietnam People's Navy. The results were thus preordained. No way could these lumbering, lightly armed vessels would fare well against the fast and heavily armed Chinese warships. The Vietnamese lost three ships and more than 60 men in the short, but sharp battle. China is not doubt looming large at the back of the minds of the leaders in Hanoi and Washington as they reach out to each other. Hanoi has made no bones about its sense of unease regarding Beijing's growing material might and in parallel, its increasing assertiveness. This is evident with China's continued militarization of its artificial islands in the South China Sea at the same time it is putting up "smile diplomacy" outreach to ASEAN and calling for cooperation, including an agreement to begin formal negotiations on the proposed Code of Conduct. Vietnam's concerns about the future of the disputes were further heightened after the ruling Chinese Communist Party proposed sweeping reforms to the Chinese Constitution, including the removal of clauses mandating that the president would serve no more than two terms in office - thus creating the prospect of Xi Jinping holding onto power for perpetuity. One needs no reminder that China's muscle flexing in recent years took place under Xi's watch. This can only mean the possible likelihood of "business as usual" - and even a worsening of future scenarios in the South China Sea - under a protracted Xi rule. The current Sino-ASEAN concord over the disputes is far from assured, and could take an abrupt turn downhill at any point of time. What appears to remain constant is Beijing's incessant buildup in and around the disputed Paracel and Spratly Island groups. While the "black box" of Chinese policy elites' true intentions is always murky, those sprawling bases on the fake islands are an undeniable fact - clear as crystal. Therefore, the Carl Vinson visit is indeed opportune. This ought to be taken as a concerted series of measures by Hanoi to send a serious signal to its vastly more powerful neighbor up north. Just before the carrier visit took place, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang called on New Delhi, one of Hanoi's closest partners. During the visit, both countries agreed to work together to build "an independent, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region" - which seems to bear strong resonance to the "Free and Open Indo- Pacific" concept championed by Japan, another of Vietnam's closest partners. In recent years, more and more foreign naval ships have visited Vietnam's ports. an Indian polar satellite launch vehicle lifting off from a launch pad at the sriharikota space station in India. Photo: IsRo Why Pakistan is losing the space race Raja MansooR India's space program is thriving as one of the fastest-growing in the world. With a successful Mars mission and various satellite launches in recent years, India is emerging as a new space power. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is now a go-to for countries like Germany, South Korea, Japan, and France seeking to launch and deploy their satellites into space. Even companies like Google use ISRO rockets to launch their satellites. This will help India economically, giving it a foot in the door in a rapidly growing industry (Morgan Stanley projects that the space industry will go from being worth around $350 billion today to over $11 trillion by the 2040s). In June 2016, ISRO successfully launched 20 satellites in a single payload; in February 2017, it launched 104 satellites on a single rocket and thus set a world record. ISRO launched its heaviest rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV- Mk III), on June 5, 2017 and placed a communications satellite GSAT-19 in orbit. With this launch, ISRO became capable of launching massive, four-ton satellites. Meanwhile, India launched a Mars orbiter mission in November 2013, and in September 2014, that space probe began successfully orbiting Mars. India's new prominence in space has its consequences, especially for Pakistan. India's rise as a space power will come at the cost of Pakistan's interests. ISRO is mainly involved in launching commercial satellites, those dealing with the weather, space navigation, and communications. However, Pakistani authorities should be alarmed due to the multipurpose nature of satellite. A satellite network provides India with a technological advantage on the ground and, in case of war, can be easily exploited for tactical and strategic gains. With a vast array of satellites, India can keep tabs on its borders through high-resolution imagery, intelligence gathering, navigation, and military communications - thus undermining Pakistan defenses. These satellites will also help India develop early warning systems specifically designed to detect ICBMs during different flight phases or incoming ballistic/cruise missiles. Currently, the Indian military uses 13 satellites. The satellites utilized by the military for surveillance include the Cartosat-1 and 2 series and Risat-1 and Risat-2; the Indian Navy employs satellites like GSAT-7 or INSAT-4F, a multiband military intelligence satellite developed by the ISRO. According to defense experts, the satellite enables the navy to extend its blue water capabilities and stop relying on foreign satellites like Inmarsat, which provide communication services to its ships. Such critical military and communications satellites could be decisive in preventing or responding to an enemy attack. As evidence of its dual use function, ISRO works in tandem with India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) along with the Defense Research and Development Service (DRDS). Both organizations are responsible for the development of emerging and defense technologies (including missile programs, land, air, and sea armaments, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, etc.) One example of the partnership between all three organizations was the recent successful test firing of the Agni V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 5,000 km. In addition to it, India is also testing anti-satellite weapons to foster their space prowess further. Pakistan's space program, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, commonly referred to as SUPARCO, predates the Indian space program by more than eight years - it was founded in 1961, while the ISRO launched in 1969. But today, SUPAR- CO lags behind on all the technological advances that have made the Indian program a potent force. Due to a lack of resources, bureaucratic hurdles, and mismanagement, Pakistan's space program, especially when it comes to commercial space exploration, has seen a considerable decline. There have been some commendable successes on military applications, like the development of shortto medium-range ballistic missiles, but such achievements have come at the cost of almost every other facet of the Pakistani space project. For example, it would likely take Pakistan decades to achieve anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, something that is sorely needed given India's satellite advantage.

02 - April 30 (2) - 2012 BCPS J.pmd
Probe Magazine Vol 13 Issue 4 (1-15 Dec 2014)