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India bans peace meet

On 2 August, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space learned that its upcoming annual international organising conference in Nagpur, India, had been blocked by the Indian government, the first time in 17 years that any country has banned the network from meeting. The gathering, planned for 9-11 October, has been cancelled, but all events for “Keep Space for Peace Week” (2-9 October) are going ahead.

Global Network coordinator Bruce Gagnon said: “It is good that our Indian members plan to keep expanding the consciousness in their nation about the dangerous and provocative plans and consequences of India joining the US Star Wars programme,” one of the planned themes of the conference.

US president Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to India in November, and India has called for the US to remove the Indian Space Research Organization and the Defence Research Development Organization from its “denied entities list” to allow the acquisition of sensitive military space- and terrestrial-based weapons technologies from the United States.

There is a third possible motive for the Indian government’s wish to ban the meeting. Indian military officials have reportedly set a target date of 2015 to deploy an ambitious anti-satellite system, capable of electronic or physical destruction of satellites in both lower earth orbits and geo-synchronous orbits.

When the Global Network published this information in its newsletter, the Indian government issued an angry public denial. Delhi may have feared further exposure of its military space projects if the conference had gone ahead.

Topics: Anti-militarism