India launches spy satellite to boost security
NEW DELHI |
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India launched an Israeli-built military spy satellite on Monday as it strengthens its security system after last year's Mumbai attacks exposed glaring loopholes in the defence apparatus.
The spy satellite launch also highlights growing defence ties between Israel and India. Israel is now the second biggest arms supplier to India after Russia.
The satellite will help Indian agencies monitor the country's international borders and anticipate any troop build-up or infiltration attempts by militant groups, defence officials said.
"The launch was perfect and the satellite is in orbit," a spokesman for the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) said by telephone from a southern Indian launch site.
The all weather spy satellite was capable of providing clear images throughout the year, he said.
India sped up the satellite launch after last November's Mumbai attacks, in which at least 166 people were killed by 10 gunmen, catching the country's security agencies completely by surprise.
"The satellite launch is yet another manifestation of India's relationship with Israel," Uday Bhaskar, a strategic expert, said.
The launch of an Israeli satellite last year from an Indian base created controversy after Iran alleged that the satellite would be used to take images of Iran. India and Israel denied this.
India is expanding its space capabilities and last year, it launched 10 satellites into orbit from a single rocket and sent its first unmanned moon mission, joining the Asian space race in the footsteps of rival China.
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