In order to compete with its main geopolitical rival, India, Pakistan is beginning to organise and expand its space resources.
Pakistan is set to launch an ambitious space programme in the next fiscal year. Its primary goals include contending with Indian space developments. as well as reducing its own dependence on foreign satellites for civil and military purposes, according to media reports.
Several projects will be initiated to develop Pakistan’s space self-reliance capacity and reduce its dependence on foreign satellites, mainly from the U.S. and France, for civil and military communications.
Next year’s budget for the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (SUPARCO) is 4.70 billion Rupees (approximately U.S.$40,500,000) which includes 2.55 billion Rupees (approximately U.S.$21,500,000) for three new projects, Dawn News reported.
The funding includes allocations for a Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat–MMI), the establishment of facilities of the Pakistan Space Centre in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamambad, as well as the establishment of a Space Application Research Centre in Karachi.
Since 2005, SUPARCO has regularly conducted activities to increase awareness of space technology and promote its peaceful usage in Pakistan.
According to a report in First Post, the development of a space programme in Pakistan is needed now due to growing demand for increased civil communication resources, as well as regional geopolitical developments.
“There are two unusual developments in the region affecting the strategic situation,” Maria Sultan, a defence analyst, said in the First Post report. “Pakistan has to keep an eye on the Indian side; and, previously, their programme had limited quality advancements, but now the U.S. has active cooperation with the Indian satellite programme.”