India Launches First-Ever Space War Drill To Defend Satellites

In the event of war with Pakistan or China, India has determined that the first domain of warfare to defend is low Earth orbit.

Indian news reported last week that the country's first space war drill on Thursday [July 25] was focused on defending space assets in the event of a shooting conflict with China.

The two-day war exercise, called IndSpaceEx, was conducted by Indian Armed Forces "in the backdrop of China's rapidly expanding space and counter-space capabilities," The Times of India (TOI) said.

"There is a need to explore effective tactical, operational, and strategic exploitation on the final frontier of warfare. We cannot keep twiddling our thumbs while China zooms ahead. We cannot match China but must have capabilities to protect our space assets," the TOI said while quoting an unnamed Indian official.

The Diplomat magazine called the military exercise a "table-top war game," will allow Indian war planners to design a doctrine that dictates procedures for space battle.

The latest exercise comes after an anti-satellite missile test in March, India emphasized it had developed a level of "deterrence" capabilities on par to the US, Russia, and China.

"We are working on several technologies like directed-energy weapons (DEWs), lasers, electromagnetic pulses (EMP) and co-orbital weapons," Dr. Satheesh Reddy, chairman of the state-funded the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said in a press briefing after the anti-satellite missile test.

Earlier last week [Monday], India launched its lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 had successfully performed a second earth-bound orbit-raising maneuver on Friday morning.

"India has paranoia" amid China's rapid rise across many domains of warfare, including space, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times Thursday.

Wei said China continued to hold a peaceful attitude towards India's space ambitions and opposed its militarization in low Earth orbit.

The Pentagon established its Space Force, the sixth branch of the armed forces, on August 2018.

Vice President Pence said after the creation of the new force, "Russia and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communications satellites via electronic attacks from the ground," adding that, "our adversaries have been working to bring new weapons of war into space itself."

As evident by many of the world superpowers, a race to defend military assets in low Earth orbit is underway, an ominous sign of war preparation as protectionism and nationalism is spreading across the world -- straining relations that could ultimately lead to war in the next decade.