Pakistan-China space cooperation intensifies

Islamabad / New Delhi, October 3 (IANS): Pakistan and China have been collaborating in space technology for quite some time. The progress made so far by Pakistan in building its space infrastructure is mainly the result of constant assistance from China, even though Pakistan had taken the initiative to establish its Space Research Commission and the upper atmosphere (SUPARCO) as early as 1961 with a promising dream of building its own space architecture under the leadership and supervision of Abdus Salam – a Pakistani physicist and Nobel Prize winner, who is also the founder of the Pakistani space program.

However, over the years, Pakistan’s space program has not seen as much growth as expected and expected due to the government’s increased focus on the nuclear program. This has led to a transfer of scientific talent and resources to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Additionally, years of military rule have led to a lack of freedom and independence for scientists in Pakistan. The achievement of priority objectives has become the pillar of the scientific community. Subsequently, with the signing of an agreement between the Chinese Ministry of Aerospace Industry and SUPARCO in 1991, the Pakistani space program received more attention.

Over the years, there has been considerable exchange between the two sides as the Pakistani space program progressed and developed. China and Pakistan also signed a 2012-2020 roadmap for space cooperation between SUPARCO and the National Space Administration of China (CNSA) in 2012. This agreement paves the way for more intensive cooperation between the two parts.

Besides the fact that China and Pakistan have signed an agreement on space exploration, China has also successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan. Pakistan is also expected to send an astronaut into space with the help of China. The Chinese have also helped Pakistan with its remote sensing satellite project.

According to reliable information, SUPARCO is in the process of acquiring a satellite image telemetry service and associated ground station for a constellation of high resolution optical satellites. In this regard, a Chinese entity, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), has undertaken to cooperate with SUPARCO. The technical proposal submitted by the company is currently under study before being finalized. Earlier, in August 2020, SUPARCO was acquiring high-resolution optical satellite imagery data and telemetry services, and the Chinese company M / s China Volant Industries Co. Ltd. (VOLINCO) had offered to help.

Pakistan is also exploring the possibility of cooperating with other countries in the space sector in order to modernize and advance its space program. In this regard, a delegation of three members of SUPARCO was to go (September 5) to Bucharest to meet officials of the M / s Airbus Defense and Space. The delegation, headed by Zafar Iqbal, member of the Space Application Research Wing, was also to discuss possible areas of bilateral cooperation with Romania in the field of space science, technology and applications. M / s Airbus Defense and Space, Romania, established in 2005, is a subsidiary of M / s Airbus which provides a full range of defense and space products and associated services.

Space programs are of enormous value to a developing country, especially in the context of the peaceful uses of space technology which can contribute to climate monitoring, agricultural science, socio-economic sector, planning urban, etc. However, Pakistan has always sought a competitive advantage over India in all areas and the high degree of insecurity within the Pakistani establishment vis-à-vis India has undoubtedly led to a strong orientation. defense of its space program.

With China’s help, Pakistan would inevitably have worked to proactively build the framework for a defense-oriented space program. This is an area that will deserve close scrutiny from the international community, as the behind-the-scenes cooperation between China and Pakistan can have detrimental consequences, especially since Pakistan’s primary focus in the expansion of its space and nuclear programs has been to stay one step ahead, if not at par, with India.

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Travis Durham

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