The Pentagon strongly denied the reports that the US spied on India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test by sending a reconnaissance 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 Defense Department spokesperson Lt Col David W Eastburn told PTI.
However, it said that the United States was aware of India’s first test-fire of an anti-satellite missile.
Aircraft Spots, which tracks the movement of military aircraft, had reported on Wednesday that US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft had departed from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean “for a mission in the Bay of Bengal to monitor India’s anti-satellite missile test”.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said, “I don’t think that it implies coordination between India and the US. This implies that the US intelligence community were aware of the test in advance because to some extent they are spying on India.”
The Pentagon on Friday had said that the US is tracking 250 to 270 pieces of debris in the space generated from the test-firing of an Anti-Satellite Missile by India. It had also said that the International Space Station or ISS was not at risk.
PM Narendra Modi in his address to the nation recently had said that India shot down a low-earth orbit satellite in space, propelling itself into an elite club of nations, which has mastered this anti-satellite (ASAT) missile technology, code naming it Mission Shakti.