China is taking its ‘all-weather ally’ Pakistan to space


  • China and Pakistan are taking their “all-weather” partnership forward with a space exploration agreement.
  • The CNSA and its Pakistani counterpart - the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission - will work together on manned missions, astronaut training and satellite development and monitoring.
  • Interestingly, the space agreement comes in the wake of India successfully testing an anti-satellite missile at the end of March.
China and Pakistan are taking their “all-weather” partnership forward with a space exploration agreement.

The agreement, which was signed on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road summit a few days ago, will be spearheaded by China’s national space agency - the Chinese National Space Administration.

The CNSA and its Pakistani counterpart - the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission - will work together on manned missions, astronaut training and satellite development and monitoring. They will establish a working committee of top officials to execute the agreement.

The two countries collaborated on the launch of two Pakistani remote sensing satellites in July last year. The satellites are meant to monitor progress on the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Concurrently, the two countries also signed a second-stage free trade agreement under the CPEC.

Interestingly, the space agreement comes in the wake of India successfully testing an anti-satellite missile at the end of March. India’s ability to shoot down satellites gave it entry to an exclusive club of space powers that comprises the US, Russia and you guessed it, China.

Given that it is yet to develop a viable scientific space programme, Pakistan stands to benefit immensely from China’s expertise in space exploration technology.

Just last week, Chinese companies started sending “nano-satellites” or tiny satellites into space. China is expected to become the world leader in developing small, inexpensive satellites in the next few years. Earlier this year, a Chinese probe made a historic landing on the far side of the moon.

Meanwhile, the country is said to be planning exploration missions to Mars and Jupiter as well as the launch of its own space station by 2022.

The Chinese city of Chengdu also plans to launch an artificial moon into space by 2020 too boost night-time illumination.


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