The Pentagon has strongly denied the reports that the US spied on India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test. Earlier, there were reports that the US had set aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to monitor the development. “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 Defence Department spokesperson Lt Col David W Eastburn told news agency 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”.
The Pentagon, however, strongly denied the spying allegation.
“It’s a relationship so strong that no topic is off limits,” Lt. Col. Eastburn said.
“Both nations enjoy shared principles regarding our respect of sovereignty, free and fair trade, adherence to international norms, and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he said.
Air Force Space Command Commander Lt Gen David D Thompson told lawmakers on Thursday that the US was aware that India’s ASAT test was coming.
Earlier the US had said, it has taken note of India’s anti-satellite missile test but expressed concern over the issue of space debris. India entered the elite club of global space power to have its own satellite weapon. In a highly-anticipated address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced about ultra-secretive ‘Mission Shakti’, which lasted for just three minutes. “A while ago, India achieved a historic feat. India today registered itself as a space power. Till now, 3 countries of the world- America, Russia and China had this achievement. India is the 4th country to have achieved this feat,” PM Modi had said in his address to the nation.
To a question, US state department the spokesperson had said that as part of “our strong strategic partnership with India, we will continue to pursue shared interests in space and scientific and technical cooperation, including collaboration on safety and security in space.