US didn’t spy on India’s anti-satellite missile test: Pentagon
Washington: The Pentagon has strongly denied the reports that
the US spied on India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test by sending a
reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to
monitor the development.
It, however, said the United States was aware of India’s
first test-fire of an anti-satellite missile.
“No US assets were spying on India. In fact, the US
continues to expand its enduring partnership with India, resulting in enhanced
interoperability and stronger economic ties,” US Defense Department
spokesperson Lt Col David W Eastburn told PTI.
Aircraft Spots, which monitors military air movements, had
said that a US Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego
Garcia went “for a mission in the Bay of Bengal to monitor India’s
anti-satellite missile test”.
This was interpreted by many that the US spied on Indian
“I don’t think that it implies coordination between
India and the US,” astronomer Jonathan McDowell from the prestigious
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told PTI on the Aircraft Spots report.
“This implies that the US intelligence community were
aware of the test in advance because to some extent they’re spying on
India,” he alleged.
“Everybody spies on their friends as well as their
enemies. That’s the way the world works these days. It would be surprising if
the US were not detecting or observing the launch site and aware of activities
preparing for the test. So one assumes that they knew it was coming,” he
McDowell, who is a staff member at the Chandra X-ray Center
and author and editor of Jonathan’s Space Report, an e-mail-distributed
newsletter documenting satellite launches, said he has not looked into the
issue of the aircraft, but it is certainly not surprising that the US would fly
a sensor aircraft to try and observe the test.
The Pentagon, however, strongly denied the spying
“It’s a relationship so strong that no topic is off
limits,” Eastburn said.