India tests its 1st anti-satellite missile system, codenamed Mission Shakti

By Manu Pubby

Modi created a storm by tweeting that he has to make an important message at 11.45 am
India has entered an elite club of nations that are capable of knocking off satellites in space, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday after a DRDO missile tested off the Odisha coast successfully hit a low orbit satellite. The Anti Satellite (ASAT) test took the world by surprise given that India in the past has maintained that space should be a frontier for peace and should not be militarised. The last nation to demonstrate ASAT capability was China when its test in 2007 was met with international disapproval.

In a much anticipated address, PM Modi said that `Mission Shakti’ was a difficult target to achieve but was completed within three minutes of the missile launch.

“Today is 27th March. A while ago, India achieved a historic feat. India today registered itself as a space power. Till now, 3 countries of the world- America, Russia, & China had this achievement. India is the 4th country to have achieved this feat,” he said. Though India has had the technical capability to develop ASAT weapons since 2012, agencies had in the past not been given the political go ahead for the project. The PM emphasised in his address that the missile is not directed against any nation and that India remains against the use of arms in space. “The ASAT missile will give new strength to India's space programme. I assure international community that our capability won't be used against anyone but is purely India's defence initiative for its security,” he said. There is no clarity yet on which Indian missile was modified into the ASAT weapon but DRDO already has the radars, sensors and long range missiles available for such missions. “Mission Shakti was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme,” the PM said.
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