The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has rebutted reports appearing in the media that it has shelved the launch of TechSar, the spy satellite, under pressure from Washington.
Reacting to a report that had appeared in the daily DNA that said that India had aborted the launch of an Indo-Israeli spy satellite with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) literally at the launch pad stage due to last-minute pressure from Washington, ISRO sources said this was untrue.
They, however, refused to go on record about the issue, and just said the satellite would be launched soon.
Once completed, the satellite is capable of obtaining sharp images of civilian construction activities, including nuclear plants that may have a strategic bearing.
It can also scan cloud-covered mountain peaks. Lack of this capability enabled Pakistan-backed militants and army regulars to entrench themselves on the heights of Kargil, necessitating a huge armed response with many casualties.
If the SAR satellite had been launched on schedule, it would have been a first for both Israel and India.
Though official sources say that technical glitches prevented the launch of the satellite, according to the DNA report, the launch of TechSAR, mounted on a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), was aborted after American intervention.
TechSAR is technically an Israeli satellite being launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a fee, but the imagery captured by it would have been available to Indian intelligence.
It is slated to be the first in a series of spy satellites India is to launch with Israeli collaboration.
According to the DNA report, the need for satellites with SAR technology has been felt very strongly after Kargil, when Indian agencies were caught napping as Pakistani intruders entered Indian peaks and set up bases.
The images, available then from the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites and spy planes, were hazy and did not reveal any ground level movement - an intelligence failure, which proved critical.
The satellite was to be the first of three produced exclusively by or in partnership with Israel for meeting India's intelligence requirements. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI