India claims to shoot down satellite, join 'space superpowers'

Thursday, 28 Mar, 2019

India on Wednesday destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that puts the country in the space "super league", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"Our scientists, shot down a live satellite 300 kilometres away in space, in low-earth orbit", Mr Modi said in his address.

India is the fourth nation to have achieved the feat.

The weapon gives a country the ability to destroy an enemy's satellites, potentially disrupting capabilities in agriculture, defence, navigation and communication.

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

Both China and India have dedicated billions of dollars to their space programmes, but their budgets are still far below that of the United States, which is estimated at $40bn. "The Modi government in the last five years has failed to provide any relief to the people of the country", senior TMC leader and West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim said.

India today registered itself as a space power.

India's Mars Mission cost less than the budget of the Hollywood space blockbuster "Gravity".

She said it was a gross violation of an electoral code of conduct.

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 an official statement India's foreign ministry declared that the debris generated from the impact would "decay and fall back to earth within weeks" as the test was executed in the "lower atmospher". ISRO is part of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), an global governmental forum for the worldwide coordination of activities related to the issues of man-made and natural debris in space. "In an extreme scenario, there is even a risk of "collisional cascading" in which one breakup triggers others in a chain reaction".

India has a large number of satellites in orbit around Earth.

Modi said India's new capability was not directed against any particular nation but was instead about ensuring national security.

Modi said the test did not violate any worldwide treaties and was for the betterment and safety of India's 1.3 billion people. The US first tested ASAT technology in 1958, the USSR followed in 1964 and China in 2007.

According to him, having the ASAT capability is significant as India has close to 20 LEO satellites that are vital for various national applications.

US Navy, a missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) to be intercepted as part of a Missile Defense Agency test in Kaui, Hawaii, on November 6, 2007.

The anti-satellite attack was part of a test of recently developed technology. That weapon has yet to be tested against a live satellite target.

The following year, the United States used a ship-launched SM-3 missile to destroy a defunct spy satellite in Operation Burnt Frost. Air strikes ordered by Modi last month targeting a militant camp in Pakistan led to retaliatory raids by Islamabad, escalating tensions between the two regional nuclear rivals. While speaking to the reporters in Amethi during the second leg of her three-day Lok Sabha election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, she said, "I've not decided yet but if my party asks me to contest, I will definitely do so".

Congress president Rahul Gandhi made a jibe at the prime minister while congratulating the DRDO. School children held flags in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad celebrating the test.

"Pakistan and China have a very deep strategic kind of partnership".