India has launched an Israeli-built spy satellite to boost its surveillance capabilities after last year's Mumbai attacks exposed glaring holes in its defense apparatus. The spy satellite launch also highlights growing defense ties between Israel and India. In 2007, Israel replaced France as the second-largest arms supplier to India after Russia. Photo on right: The satellite was launched from a site in southern India Courtesy [AFP]
The satellite, RISAT 2, was launched from the Sriharikota launch site, 90km north of the southern city of Chennai, on Monday.
"The launch was perfect and the satellite is in orbit," a spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The new satellite provides India with the capability to monitor its international borders, anticipate any troop build-up or infiltration attempts by armed groups and track incoming ballistic missiles, defense officials said.
Last year, an Israeli satellite launched from an Indian base sparked a controversy as Iran claimed the satellite would be used to take images of Iran. But both India and Israel denied this. The satellite was launched from a site in southern India.