New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India shot down a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite, which was a pre-determined target. He said India has become a “space superpower” with the successful testing of anti-satellite weapon.
PM Modi said India is only the fourth nation after the US, Russia and China.
“A short while ago, India has shot down an LEO satellite by anti-satellite missile. It was conducted under Mission Shakti, which was completed in three minutes,” PM Modi said in a special address.
“India has entered its name as an elite space power. An anti-satellite weapon, A-SAT, successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit,” the prime minister said in a televised address.
A Low Earth Orbit (LEO) refers to an Earth-centred orbit at an altitude of 2,000 km. A-SAT is a weapon system that is designed to destroy or incapacitate satellites.
PM Modi said Mission Shakti is an important step towards securing India’s safety, economic growth and technological advancement.
The prime minister said, “A-SAT missile will give new strength to India’s space programme. I assure the international community that our capability won’t be used against anyone. It is purely India’s defence initiative for its security. We are against arms race in space. This test does not breach any international law or treaties.”
PM Modi described Mission Shakti special for two reasons - 1. India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability, and 2. Entire effort is indigenous. “India stands tall as a space power,” he said.
Soon after PM Modi made the announcement, Union minister Nitin Gadkari congratulated the scientists involved in the project. The prime minister, in his address, said the Mission Shakti was accomplished by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
“Congratulations to all the scientists for carrying out “Mission Shakti” successfully. India is moving fast towards becoming a world leader, and under PM Modi’s leadership, it is on its way to not only become a super economic power but also a super science power,” news agency ANI quoted Gadkari as saying.
The Congress congratulated the government and the scientists working on the project for the successful testing of the A-SAT.
“We congratulate @isro & the Govt on the latest achievement for India. The Indian Space Programme established in 1961 by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru & the Indian Space Research Organisation set up under Smt. Indira Gandhi has always made India proud with its ground breaking achievements,” the Congress tweeted.
PM Modi’s announcement followed a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security.