20 October, 2020

Eyes In The Sky

The Prithvi controversy highlights the need for an independent, shared monitoring agency

Eyes In The Sky

Who is monitoring global defence installations? The ongoing controversy over the alleged Prithvi deployment and the reported preparations for a nuclear test by India in December 1995 has highlighted not only the role of high-resolution satellite imagery (with a resolution of less than 1 metre) but also the need for a neutral organisation in providing this verification technique using commercial satellite imagery (with resolutions of 5 metres and above at the moment). The latter is particularly significant given the fact that while in both cases the evidence was based on high-resolution satellite imagery from the US government, none of the actual images were available for public scrutiny.

However, two US scholars (Vipin Gupta and Frank Pabian, with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Liver-more, California) have recently published a report on the alleged Indian nuclear test preparations at Pokhran in late 1995 and early 1996, based on commercial satellite images. This report, "Investigating the Allegations of Indian Nuclear Test Preparations in the Rajasthan...



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