Spectre of chemical weapons looms large
The spectre of chemical and biological weapons is real and it is not a recent phenomenon. We have seen the large-scale use of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq and now it is threatening to disturb peace, yet again, in the Middle East with Syria being the errant state. Annihilation of people, because of ethnic differences, has been carried out by many regimes, using different methods and chemical and biological weapons have been on the top. The Halabja chemical attack, also known as Halabja massacre or Bloody Friday, was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place in 1988. The attack reportedly killed about 5,000 people, most of them civilians.
Now Syria is in the eye of the storm having used chemical weapons, which according to the United States has killed nearly 1,500 people. Even before the United Nations confirmed the use of chemical weapons, the US was all set to strike militarily Syria which would have had widespread economic and geopolitical ramifications. However, that has been put on hold as efforts are on to ‘disarm’ Syria of its chemical weapons.
What all this indicates is how warfare has changed, taking on dangerous proportions. The battlefield is no longer confined to geography. It is beyond. Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch in his fortnightly column discusses how chemical weapons have come into play and how the US is keen on global policing. Any military strike, he avers, is going to have adverse economic consequences for India besides affecting the Indian diaspora in the region.
Also in this issue, the General has acclaimed the recent launch of GSAT-7, India’s first military satellite. He opines that though many foreign satellites on L Band have footprints over India, use of a foreign satellite for operational military communications raises legitimate apprehensions of security. The General avers that we need to examine whether total military satellite communications should be based on exclusive military communications satellites or a mix of military and commercial communication satellites with adequate security keeping in mind China’s anti-satellite capability that will likely target exclusive military satellites more in times of war.
In SP’s Exclusives, we have a couple of reports on the developments happening in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), including the sea trials of the autonomous underwater vehicle, besides the tenders floated by the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Army order for anti-tank guided missiles.
We have report on DSEi (Defence Security and Equipment International) held in London, which to date brought together over 30,000 of the global defence and security industry to source the latest equipment and systems, develop international relationships, and generate new business opportunities. DSEi is increasingly being seen as the place to do business in the global defence and security market. With an unrivalled range of suppliers from 56 countries, DSEi has become a truly global event for defence equipment procurement. Indian companies too showcased their ware at the India pavilion.
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