New Delhi: While ISRO has thus far remained tight-lipped about it, two of its scientists confirmed that the Cartosat-2C satellite helped nail the targets for India’s surgical strikes on Pakistan last week, Indian Defense News reported today.
“It’s a great achievement for us, the imagery produced by ISRO was used for the benefit of the nation, we couldn’t be more proud,” said ISRO scientist Ratan Singh Bisht, to the defence publication, referring to Cartosat- 2C, launched by ISRO in June this year.
In retaliation for the September 18 Uri terror attack, India last week carried out surgical strikes that took out at least 38 terrorists across the Line of Control in Pakistan.
The Cartosat-2C images helped with narrowing down the locations for the strikes. A satellite like the Cartosat-2C has, in addition to several other capabilities, a high-resolution camera that can even detect illegal mining. And Pakistan has just two such satellites – both of which are loaned to them – the scientists said.
A retired ISRO scientist, JP Joshi, used an interesting analogy to describe how the satellite works.
“There is a common understanding between countries over the world. If you are on a terrace, you can see everything, but if your parents tell you not to look into the neighbours’ homes, you won’t. These satellites are capable of viewing one third of the globe. Having said that, Pakistan is right at the border and a satellite is like a torch, so it’s obvious that we can view their land. Area of Interest (AOI) is always known and defined in advance in such cases,” said Joshi, a former communication satellite scientist with ISRO.
Cartosat does provide AOl-based images to the armed forces, an Isro source confirmed to TOI a day after the surgical strikes.
The source also told TOI that while (s)he cannot confirm whether Cartosat-2C images were provided to the Army for the surgical strikes of September 29, what can be confirmed is that the satellite’s images “are meant for this purpose and the army has used this” in other cases.
The Cartosat-2C – launched in June – is the best in the class that India boasts of. It has given India’s military surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities more teeth, and has been providing high resolution images of 0.65 metres, an improvement over the 0.8m resolution of the earlier missions. This satellite can not only click pictures of areas of interest, it can also record videos of sensitive targets from space, compress it, and relay it back to earth.
The first Cartosat was launched in 2005. The Cartosat-2A, launched in 2007, was the first dual-use satellite with the capability of monitoring missile launches in India’s neighbourhood.