India is developing a communication-centric intelligence satellite (CCI-sat) to watch over its troubled neighbourhood.

The $25m CCI-Sat is expected to orbit earth at an altitude of 300 miles and will also capture images along with conversations between satellite phones apart from its core surveillance mission.

Defense Electronic Research Laboratory director G Boopathy said the satellite would be fitted with electronic warfare sensors more powerful than ISRO’s remote sensing satellites, according to The Hindu.

The sensor would be pointed on the mountain range facing Pakistan, China, Nepal and the north-east part of the country, to detect troop or vehicular movement across the borders.

“CCI-sat is part of a high-priority plan to develop electronic warfare systems for India’s army, navy and air force,” Boopathy said.

The intelligence satellite, which is still in the initial stages of planning, will be jointly developed by DERL and ISRO. It is expected to be ready for launch by 2014.