Chinese Dual-Use Facilities In Myanmar And Sri Lanka Raise Security Concerns In India
The construction of a military facility on Coco Islands in Myanmar and a proposed remote satellite receiving ground station system in Sri Lanka, both coming up with Chinese help, have raised concerns in India about possible surveillance across the region.
Points to Ponder:
- Recent satellite photographs reveal that a military base is being built on the Coco Islands, which are near the Andaman and Nicobar Island chain. The station is being created with Chinese aid and is a source of concern for India because it could be used for regional monitoring.
- Chinese Assistance in Sri Lanka: Through a collaboration between the Aerospace Information Research Institute and the University of Ruhuna, China has suggested establishing a distant satellite reception ground station system in Sri Lanka. The proposed ground station might be utilized to spy on Indian assets and intercept critical data throughout the region.
- Dual-use Satellite tracking facilities are fundamental dual-use in nature, which means they can be utilized for both civil and military objectives. China’s civil space program is known to collaborate closely with its military, and there are concerns that the proposed Sri Lanka base station could be utilized for surveillance purposes.
- Concerns over Indian Assets: The projected ground station in Sri Lanka and the Coco Islands military installation could be used to spy on Indian assets and intercept vital information. The ground station may monitor India’s satellite launch facilities in Sriharikota and the integrated missile test range in Odisha, and launches from there might be tracked to obtain sensitive data.
- Coordination with Chinese Research and Survey Vessels: According to sources, the ground station in Sri Lanka might collect critical information in collaboration with Chinese research and survey vessels in the vicinity. Many of the same activities as ground stations can be performed by space tracking and surveillance spacecraft, with the added benefit of mobility.
- Coco Islands, also known as the Keeling Islands, are a group of 27 coral islands located in the eastern Indian Ocean.
- The Coco Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about 2,750 kilometers northwest of Perth, Australia. They are located between the Christmas Islands and the Indonesian islands.
- Captain William Keeling of the British East India Company found the islands in 1609. Later, the islands were used for coconut plantations before becoming British territory in 1955.
- The islands have a population of about 600 people, the majority of whom are Malay.
- Language: Although English is the official language of the islands, the population also speaks Malay.
- The islands’ economy is built on tourism, coconut plantations, and fishing.
- The islands have a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius all year.
- Flora and fauna: The islands are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including several bird, crab, and sea turtle species.
- Malay traditions and practices have had a significant impact on the culture of the islands. The majority of the population is Muslim, and Islamic holidays are widely celebrated.