India is a 'space superpower', boasts Narendra Modi after anti-satellite test

Lok Sabha election 2019,Lok Sabha election,General election

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is hoping for re-election next month, said Wednesday that the test, dubbed Mission Shakti, put his country into the space "super league". He said India would only be the fourth country to have used such an anti-satellite weapon after the United States, Russia and China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India had joined the U.S., Russian Federation and China in an elite group of nations that have the capability to target satellites. "This is a proud moment for India", he added.

The anti-satellite attack was part of a test of recently developed technology.

Such capabilities have raised fears of the weaponisation of space and setting off a race between rivals.

China's foreign ministry said it hoped all countries could "earnestly protect lasting peace and tranquillity in space", while Russian Federation declined to make any immediate comment.

The United States and Russian Federation both declined to make any immediate comment. "Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to the militarisation of this arena", Pakistan said in a statement.

"Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical", he said.

According to senior defence researchers here, the success of "Mission Shakti" owed a lot to almost 70 missile scientists, who relentlessly worked for over half a decade at RCI, along with a few other defence establishments at APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex, for the Indian Ballistic Missile Development (BMD) programme.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated dramatically when India launched airstrikes on February 26 to attack what the government said was a terrorist training camp inside Pakistan.

In 2007, China first used a ballistic missile to destroy its own old weather satellite orbiting 535 miles (861 km) above Earth, while Russian Federation has been testing a missile that could be used to strike and destroy a satellite or ballistic missile. "Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks".

"We all live in space".

"We have always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes", the ministry said.

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After 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a February suicide bombing in disputed Kashmir, India said it retaliated with a "surgical strike" on a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

"You can not make [space] unstable. So, thoughtfulness goes a long way". "We are against the weaponization of Outer Space and support global efforts to reinforce the safety and security of space based assets". "The debris is still there", Dr. Chander said, adding it would remain for decades and could become a hazard for any new satellites. "In an extreme scenario, there is even a risk of "collisional cascading" in which one breakup triggers others in a chain reaction".

New Delhi also tried to address concerns the debris from such tests can harm civilian and military satellite operations.

In 2007, China destroyed its FengYun 1C weather satellite with an SC-19 missile, leaving behind space debris consisting of 3,280 pieces of trackable debris, as well as up to 32,000 pieces that are non-trackable.

Responding to the development, News18 reported that government sources saying no one could have been informed about the test.

Asked twice whether the Pentagon was given a heads up by India that the test would be coming, the acting secretary did not directly comment.

"We have been working on ASAT capabilities for some time".

The US ran the first anti-satellite test in 1959, when satellites were rare and new.

India has successfully tested a "satellite killer" missile that has far-reaching strategic implications.

Although he faces criticism for failing to deliver on high economic growth and create jobs, a hawkish position on security should help Mr Modi at the ballot box, pollsters say.

The last time he had made similar address to the nation at a short notice was on 8 November, when he made the demonetisation announcement.

"I would also like to wish the prime minister a very happy World Theatre Day", Mr Gandhi said.

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