Pentagon denies spying on India’s ASAT missile test, US Air Force confirms knew plans

Washington: Reports of US spying on India’s anti-satellite or ASAT missile tests have been strongly denied by Pentagon reports said.

But however, maintained that the US is well aware of Indian first test-fire of the anti-satellite missile against reports of US spying India’s ASAT missile test by sending a reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Deigo Garcia in the Indian Ocean

“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 news agency.

Whereas Aircraft Spots which monitors military air movements confirmed a US Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft went “for a mission in the Bay of Bengal to monitor India’s anti-satellite missile test”.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell from prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics responding to Aircraft Spots report said: “I don’t think that it implies coordination between India and the US, which also implies that the US intelligence community were aware of the test in advance because to some extent they’re spying on India.”

“Everybody spies on their friends as well as their enemies. That’s the way the world works these days. It would be surprising if the US were not detecting or observing the launch site and aware of activities preparing for the test. So one assumes that they knew it was coming,” he claimed.

But the spying allegations claims were strongly denied by Pentagon.

“It’s a relationship so strong that no topic is off limits,” Lt Col Eastburn had replied on claims.
“Both nations enjoy shared principles regarding our respect of sovereignty, free and fair trade, adherence to international norms, and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he added.

On the other hand, Air Force Space Command Commander Lt Gen David D Thompson on Thursday told US lawmakers that US knew about India’s ASAT test beforehand.

“First of all, we knew it was coming because of flight bans that India had announced and information they published previously. The launch occurred at 1:39 AM EST,” he told the US Senates during the Congressional hearing on Strategic Forces.

“First of all, it was detected, characterised and reported by Air Force Missile Warning systems and Airmen at Buckley AFB. Immediately after the test (it struck the target vehicle), the Joint Space Ops Center and USAF 18 Space control Squadron began collecting information about the breakup of the vehicle,” Lt Gen Thompson said.

This anti-satellite missile test made India the only fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to acquire the strategic capability to shoot down enemy satellites.