NEW DELHI, AUG 23:Indian telecom operators and broadcasters have raised concern over the latest satellite Asiasat-8 launched recently by China which has been designed to keep the border areas of the country away from signals being beamed by these operators and broadcasters.
The operators and the broadcasters point out that the Chinese satellite is not only the most powerful launched so far, but has been designed to take the northern border of India and North East territories out of India beam.
These have been made a part of the China beam as if these are a part of the Chinese territory. The territories, which have been earmarked as part of the China beam include the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. The satellite was launched by China on August 5.
Reports suggest that the move from China came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the possible SAARC satellite by India to bring the SAARC countries closer.
Asiasat-8 has been designed as a commercial satellite offering VSAT/DTH, Internet and telecommunications capacity for various users in India and China. However hidden in its design is to establish its signals on Indian territory, which China has been disputing and claiming as its own.
Lok Sabha member of Parliament from Maharashtra Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the perils of the satellite to India.
In his letter (copy of which is with The Tribune), Ahir has urged the Home Minister to come out with a notification banning the use of this satellite by any Indian Telecom, VSAT or DTH operator.
Ahir has pointed out that the new Chinese satellite will allow anyone in PoK, Ladakh, Leh, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and all along the northern border of India and North East to use this high-powered satellite to establish two-way communications from India which will be inaccessible to Indian security agencies and poses grave security threat to the country.
An official of one of the major broadcasters from India, not wanting to be identified, says the high power transmitters on the satellite are about 10 times more powerful than any satellite launched before and can be used to deliver DTH, messaging and internet in border areas which will be difficult to counteract unless the use of the satellite is banned by India on its territory. If any Indian broadcasters, telecommunications providers or broadband providers are given capacity on this satellite, these transmissions will not reach Indian users residing in PoK, Ladakh, Leh, Nepal, Sikkim Arunachal Pradesh and other areas in the Northeast. Instead, transmissions from China will reach them.
This satellite, which will be in use for the next 15 years, will effectively mean that China is taking part of Indian territory out of Indian operators’ purview and bringing it under Chinese operators’ purview. What is worrying is that as a result of this satellite and India beam, areas in PoK, Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan and major parts of North East India and East India will come under Chinese surveillance and it will easily be able to monitor the strategic activities of India in these areas, which are of strategic importance to India.