Centre for Airpower Studies, New Delhi, India
HIGH SKY – LOW TENSION: CAN INDIA AND CHINA FIND COMMON INTEREST IN OUTER SPACE?
Cold War rivalry spilled into space when the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, leading to space being recognised as the fourth domain of warfare. As the monopoly of the US and former Soviet Union eroded, it created space for new actors to emerge from Asia, where China and India due to their investemnts in space technology as early as 1950’s had a significant headstart. The paper traces the evolution of the space programs of both the Asian countries and identifies how they are tailored to meet their aspirations to become global space powers. Against the backdrop of competitve cooperation which charecterises their overall bilateral relations, the paper assesses the trends in their national space programs to predict whether Sino-Indian relations will shift towards confrontation or cooperation. In view of the similar ambitions of both these countries in space, the paper conlcudes that there is scope for cooperation as well as competiton and which path will be adopted depends largely on their national strategic interests and further development of their fututre projects.