Reports


North Korea’s Hwasong 12 Missile Test

Authors: S. Chandrashekar, Rajaram Nagappa and N. Ramani

On May 14 2017 North Korea test fired a new Hwasong 12 missile. The launch took place from a location near the city of Kusong at 04 58 hours local time. The launch did not take place using a Transportable Erector Launcher (TEL). The missile appears to have been launched from a pad.

The missile flew a lofted trajectory landing in the Sea of Japan with a range of 787 Km. The altitude reached by the missile was 2111.5 Km. The flight time as reported by Japanese sources was about 30 minutes. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in its report said that the test “proved to the full” a range of systems, including “guidance and stabilization systems, structural system and pressurization, inspection and launching systems and reconfirmed the reliability of new rocket engine under the practical flight circumstances.” The test “also verified the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system.”

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Building Bridges: Potential and Policy Recommendations for Enhancing India-Myanmar Ties

Authors: M. Mayilvaganan

Myanmar has an important neighbour in the eastern periphery serves the country’s security and economic interests. It provides access to the various countries of continental Southeast Asia besides, a country of great importance that has a key role in the development of India’s North East region. Keeping this reality as focus, the present report looks at the post-2015 Myanmar and the prospects of improving India’s bilateral ties with Myanmar. In particular, this report focuses on Myanmar’s perception of India, the development requirements of a fast changing Myanmar and finally what India can offer to them. This report outlines the rationale for fostering robust ties with Myanmar and choosing a particular policy course of action in the current geopolitical scenario. 

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China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the ASBM: May 2016 Update

Authors: S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal

Yaogan May 2016With the launch of the Yaogan 28, Yaogan 29 in November 2015 and Yaogan 30 satellite in May 2016, China has demonstrated its ability to routinely identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up.

The current operational satellite constellation consists of ELINT satellites, satellites carrying Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors as well as satellites carrying optical imaging senors. Based on the orbit characteristics, their local time of equatorial crossing and other related parameters, these satellites can be grouped into different categories that perform the various functions for identifying, locating and tracking the ACG.

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Analysis of North Korea’s February 2016 Successful Space Launch

Authors: S. Chandrashekar, N. Ramani and Arun Vishwanathan

DPRK Feb 2016 Unha3The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea succeeded in placing a 100 kg Earth Observation (EO) satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 into a Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) on February 7, 2016. As it had done in earlier launches, the DPRK used its Unha-3 launch vehicle for the latest mission. The launch was conducted from the Sohae Space Center in Ch’o’lsan County, North Pyongyang Province.

Based on available information put out by various agencies including official North Korean sources this report attempts to reconstruct the trajectory of the February 2016 launch. Using this reconstruction of the trajectory it goes on to make inferences about the technical parameters of the launcher. It builds upon and complements an earlier study carried out by the ISSSP on North Korea’s successful launch of 2012 to provide an update on North Korea’s launch and space capabilities.

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Space, War and Security – A Strategy for India

Authors: S. Chandrashekar

Chandra Space ReportFor civilian space applications countries need to track and monitor the health of satellites. Most active satellites transmit radio signals that can be received on the ground and these can be used to fix the position of the satellite and determine its orbit. However once satellites reach their end of life they may not be able to transmit radio signals on a continuing basis. There are also spent rocket stages and a number of objects put into orbit during the commissioning of a satellite. Military testing of ASAT weapons, other experiments done in the past where particles have been released into space as well as fragments from the explosion of spent rocket stages all create debris. More recently two satellites have collided with each other creating a debris cloud. Indian facilities for tracking transmitting satellites may be adequate. However to track inactive satellites and space debris India needs long range radars, optical and laser tracking facilities located suitably so as to be able to track these objects. These are the facilities that India needs to set up.

Once these are available India would be in a position to monitor the happenings in space. By making sure it knows where the inactive satellites and larger debris objects are located, it can provide routine data to all satellite users including Indian operators on risks associated with possible collisions. It can also monitor the space activities of the major space powers especially on the military aspects of the use of space such as ASAT testing, launchings related to C4ISR functions for the military as well as other satellites used for various civilian and military functions.

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Estimating Uranium Mill Capacity Using Satellite Pictures

Authors: S. Chandrashekar, Lalitha Sundaresan, Bhupendra Jassani

slider Estimation of Uranium Mill CapacityThe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gathers and analyses safeguards relevant information about a State from (a) information provided by the State party to the safeguards agreement; (b) safeguards activities conducted by the Agency on the ground and (c) open sources and third parties.

The IAEA’s analyses consists of validation of information provided by the States against information collected by the Agency under (b) and (c) including that obtained from commercial satellite imagery. Information may differ depending on whether it is acquired under a comprehensive safeguards agreement (CSA), CSA and under the Additional Protocol Agreement (APA) or that obtained on a voluntary basis. Though several studies have addressed the usefulness of satellite images for monitoring various parts of the nuclear fuel cycle not much work has been carried out to assess their utility for monitoring Uranium mining and milling operations.

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Identification of Uranium Mill Sites From Open Source Satellite Images

Authors: S. Chandrashekar, Lalitha Sundaresan, Bhupendra Jassani

Identifying Uranium Mill SitesOpenly available satellite imagery now provides a possible way to monitor nuclear fuel cycle activities. The early detection of new Uranium mining and milling operations and the routine monitoring of existing mines and mills using such imagery could make a valuable contribution to the oversight and monitoring function of organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

A review of the existing literature suggests that Uranium mines do not offer special spectral or spatial signatures that uniquely identify them in a satellite image. However the various processes involved in the conversion of Uranium ore into yellowcake, offers interesting possibilities for the use of satellite imagery.

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North Korea’s 2016 Nuclear Test: An Analysis

Authors: Arun Vishwanathan, S. Chandrashekar, L.V. Krishnan and Lalitha Sundaresan

slider DPRK Nuclear Test ReportOn January 6, 2016, two days short of Kim JongUn’s birthday, the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted its fourth nuclear test. The test took place at 10:30 AM Local Time (01:30:00 UTC). An analysis of the seismic data from the test, clearly points to the fact that the earthquake (with a magnitude of 4.85 on the Richter scale) was the result of a nuclear test and not due to a natural earthquake. North Korea released a statement following the test which claimed that it had conducted a nuclear test and had exploded its first H-bomb.

North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. the first test in October 2006 with a yield of ~1kT was a fizzle. This was followed by the second test in May 2009. Though there are differences over the exact yield of the test with estimates ranging from 2.4 kT to 5 kT it is considered to be a success. The third test in February 2013 had a yield around 10 kT.

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Promise of Small Satellites for National Security

Author: Rajaram Nagappa

Small SatellitesIndia is one of the few spacefaring nations having demonstrated capability in both launch vehicle and satellite domains. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) functioning under the Department of Space is the responsible agency and has established the capability to plan and implement end-to end missions. These include satellite missions for communication, earth observation, meteorology and regional navigation. ISRO also carries out scientific missions, deep space missions and offers commercial launch services. ISRO is a civilian organisation and very rightly prioritizes its mandated tasks. Consequently, the space services currently do not cater to the needs of military space, which are evolving now. Though ISRO has the technical capability, there are capacity constraints in both satellite building and launch services.

Envisaged military space requirements will include exclusive communication satellites, electronic intelligence satellites (ELINT) and constellation of optical and radar imaging satellites for continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) activities. Small satellites are playing an important role in space applications. They are faster to build, are cost effective and better as they benefit from the use of latest technologies. Small satellite platforms can be adapted for military missions involving optical and radar imaging applications with good resolution as also for ELINT operations.

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China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: October 2015 Update

Authors: S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal

Yaogan Oct 2015 UpdateWith the recent launches of the Yaogan 26 and Yaogan 27 satellites China has demonstrated its ability to routinely identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up.

The current operational satellite constellation consists of ELINT satellites, satellites carrying Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors as well as satellites carrying optical imaging sensors.

Based on the orbit characteristics, their local time of equatorial crossing and other related parameters, these satellites can be grouped into different categories that perform the various functions for identifying, locating and tracking the ACG.

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China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: January 2015 Update

Authors: S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal

Yaogan Jan 2015With the recent launches of the Yaogan 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 satellites China has augmented its advanced space capabilities to routinely identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up.

The analysis and the simulation results suggest that China has in place an operational ASBM system that can identify, locate, track and destroy an Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific Ocean. This seems to be an important component of a larger Chinese Access and Area Denial Strategy focused around a conflict over Taiwan.

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Launch of Pakistani Shaheen-II (Hatf-VI) Ballistic Missile on November 13, 2014: An Analysis

Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, S. Chandrashekar, N. Ramani, Lalitha Sundaresan and Viswesh Rammohan

shaheen II Nov 2014 launchA launch of the Shaheen II (Hatf-VI) ballistic missile was carried out by the Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command on 13 November 2014. What is significant about this launch is that it is taking place after a gap of nearly six and half years. The last announced Shaheen-II launch had taken place on 19 and 21 April 2008. The range claimed in those flights was higher at 2000 km.

A related issue is that the launch was conducted over the Arabian Sea and the Notice to Mariners/Airmen issued in advance identified missile launch window and the coordinates of the impact zones. With the available information from open sources an analysis is carried out of this flight and where relevant comparison is carried out with the launch of April 2008.

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R&D on Rare Earth and Value Addition – The Indian Case

Authors: Lalitha Sundaresan and S. Chandrashekar

xslider-RD-on-RE-CoverGlobal and Indian interest on the role of hi-tech materials for crafting strategies that furthers a country’s development and geopolitical interests has been on the increase lately. This renewed interest has come about from the various actions taken by China to establish a dominant position in the global Rare Earths (RE) industry and to leverage this position to further its global interests. India has a fairly strong resource base in Rare Earths and with further exploration these can increase. It has also been engaged in mining and RE extraction activities for more than three decades. This makes it possible for India to become a fairly important player in the global RE industry. 

In this brief, the authors have examined the Abstracts of the conference proceedings and the papers presented at the conference to make a critical appraisal of the R&D conducted within India on RE and the relevance of this R&D for India’s development.

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For earlier reports by ISSSP on the Rare Earth issue click here and here


India-China Relations – An Introspection

Author: Saurabh Kumar

india-china picThe essay attempts a quick appraisal of India’s equation with China from a forward looking strategic standpoint, for charting the way ahead, in light of the ongoing visit of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping to India. 

While the immediate task naturally is to work for early realisation of the potential through mutually beneficial diversification and intensification of ties, tapping all possible complementarities through imaginative arrangements and programmes, it is the political relationship that has naturally to be kept in focus as the driver, and determinant of the reach, of the former.

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Revisiting Higher Defence Management in India

Author: Sadhavi Chauhan

Higher Defence ManagementIndia’s regional security environment necessitates the country’s armed forces to remain at a heightened state of defence preparedness. While in the short run, increasing the defence budget and importing weapons are necessary and unavoidable; a holistic solution lies in strengthening India’s higher defence management. With an increasing dependence on global arms import (70 percent) and reports of low ammunition reserves, India is posed with the urgent need to promote defence indigenisation. 

This report highlights that greater political participation in defence issues, better inter-Service’s and inter-departmental cooperation, higher defence indigenisation, and structural revisions in India’s higher defence management are key to finding solutions to many of India’s challenges and in carving a safer future for India. 

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Workshop Report- Asia-Pacific Power Dynamics: Strategic Implications and Options for India

Authors: M. Mayilvaganan, Aditi Malhotra, Viswesh R., and Sadhavi Chauhan

report coverChina’s rise, unresolved maritime disputes in Asia Pacific, and the US pivot to Asia have led to the re-emergence of Asia- Pacific as a strategically important region. This new found focus has created a growing need to understand the regional dynamics in a more nuanced way. Given this backdrop, the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore has been engaged in a medium term project focusing on China.

A primary objective of this project was to study the behaviour of regional countries in the face of a crisis in the Asia Pacific. As a part of this effort, ISSSP organised a workshop titled ‘Asia-Pacific Power Dynamics: Strategic Implications and Options for India’ on March 11, 2014. This report covers the findings of a simulation exercise dealing with potential future developments in the Indo-Pacific region and its implications for the major players.

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Revamping India’s National Security Structure: Agenda for the Indian Government

Author: Arun Vishwanathan 

Revamping-India-s-National-Security-Structure-Cover-212x300The 2014 elections for the Sixteenth Lok Sabha saw the Indian electorate delivering a positive, decisive mandate to a single party after a gap of almost three decades. An important area which is in need for urgent attention from the Narendra Modi-government is India’s national security structure. Despite past efforts at reform, India’s national security structure continues to be plagued by absence of coordination, turf battles and paucity of human resources. Many of these problems are symptomatic of systemic ills which therefore require a holistic relook.

In order for India to achieve its national interests it should be able to work in a coordinated fashion. This necessitates a holistic revamping of the existing national security apparatus and its workings. Putting in place a mechanism that develops long-term strategies and coordinates their execution is imperative as is and strengthening the National Security Advisor’s (NSA’s) support structure. In addition, such a revamp should also include reforms to the existing higher defence organisation and intelligence setup. This report will flag some of the important issues the incoming government needs to focus on in order to strengthen India’s national security architecture.

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Asia-Pacific Power Dynamics: Strategic Implications and Options for India

Authors: M. Mayilvaganan, Aditi Malhotra, Viswesh R., and Sadhavi Chauhan

seminar coverIn the emerging geopolitical discourse today, the Asia-Pacific region has emerged as a major centre of geostrategic interest. Accompanying this change in perception is a change in scope, with strategists not just considering the typical Indian Ocean, but also the western, and sometimes even central Pacific Ocean.

The Asia-pacific ranges from East Africa to the western and central Pacific, including Japan and Australia. Asia-Pacific concept reflected a new reality shaped by the rise of China and India, a revitalized Japan, along with the continued primacy of the United States and also signifies the accelerating economic and security connections between the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean thus creating a single strategic system. Based on the proceedings of the seminar, the authors present their inferences on the behaviour and strategies of the major players in the Asia Pacific Region.

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Pivot or Pirouette: The U.S. Rebalance to Asia

Author: Ashley J. Tellis

Ashley Tellis Lecture CoverRebalancing is really a strategic effort to go back to dealing with the fundamentals of the strategic situation. First, it is evidence of the American recognition that China’s rise is an enduring rise and not a flash in the pan. China is not suddenly going to disappear and take care of itself because of some internal crisis. It is the second element of rebalancing, the objective of managing China’s rise, which is going to be an extremely challenging one. Managing China is going to be a challenging task because it requires the United States to simultaneously socialise, integrate, deter and reassure China.

Rebalancing essentially involves three components. The strategic component is the one which has acquired a lot of attention in the public discourse. The other two equally important elements are the diplomatic and the economic components. The idea, at the end of the day, is if all three components work as planned, the United States will begin to do much better than it did before in economic terms. That improved wealth and welfare performance will translate into greater availability of resources to the American state with respect to national defence. Those marginal increases in defence capabilities will in turn contribute to both defeating Chinese efforts to prevent the United States from being able to operate in Asia, while simultaneously reassuring American friends and allies. That, in a nutshell, is the logic of the strategy.

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China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the ASBM

Authors: S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal

Launch of Yaogan 17With the recent launch of the Yaogan 19 satellite China has in place an advanced space capability to identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up. The current 19 satellite constellation consists of ELINT satellites, satellites carrying Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors as well as satellites carrying optical imaging sensors. Based on the orbit characteristics, their local time of equatorial crossing and other related parameters, these satellites can be grouped into different categories that perform the various functions for identifying, locating and tracking the ACG.

Using typical sensor geometries and the two line orbital elements available from public sources the ability of the current constellation to identify, locate and track the Aircraft Carrier Group was simulated. The analysis and the simulation results suggest that China has in place an operational ASBM system that can identify, locate, track and destroy an Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific Ocean. This seems to be an important component of a larger Chinese Access and Area Denial Strategy focused around a conflict over Taiwan.

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