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India tests anti-satellite weapon A-SAT, establishes itself as major space power: Modi

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New Delhi, Mar 27: India on Wednesday shot down a live satellite with an A-SAT missile, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that with this India has established itself as a major space power.

"Mission Shakti operation was a difficult target to achieve which was completed successfully within three minutes of launch," he said in an address to the nation today.

The PM's address was not a planned one. PM Modi tweeted around 11 am that he would make an announcement to the nation between 11.45 am to 12 noon. "An anti-satellite weapon, A-SAT, successfully targeted a live satellite in a low earth orbit. India has established itself as a major space power," said Modi.

PM Modi

Modi said the test was carried out successfully.

The technology to shoot down a satellite in orbit is something that only a few nations have. With this India has demonstrated its technical capabilities.

"India accomplished Mission Shakti under 3 minutes. India 4th nation to achieve that," said PM.

[What is Anti-satellite (ASAT) Missile?][What is Anti-satellite (ASAT) Missile?]

Asserting that India's trial does not violate principles of the international law, the Prime Minister said 'Mission Shakti' is an important step towards securing India's safety, economic growth and technological advancement.

India becomes only the fourth nation after the United States, Russia and China to be able to target objects in space, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Modi said A-SAT missile's sucessful test will give significant impetus to India's space programme. Modi assured the international community that India's capability is not aimed against any nation, adding, "It is purely the nation's defence initiative for its security."

"We're against arms race in space. This test won't breach any international law or treaties," the PM said.

PM Modi's announcement about his address to the nation followed a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, said reports.

PM Modi began his speech by saying that India has successfully registered its name among major space powers.

"I congratulate all involved in Mission Shakti as it has achieved all parameters. Our mission is now a huge success," he added.

[What are Indian Low Earth Orbit satellites?][What are Indian Low Earth Orbit satellites?]

Research into anti-satellite systems began after the Soviet Union launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik, way back in 1957. The US conducted its last test in 1985, destroying a satellite at an elevation of roughly 350 miles. In January 2007, China became the third country to conduct a successful test when it launched a ballistic missile to an altitude of more than 530 miles-roughly the altitude used for U.S. and Japanese imagery intelligence satellites-and destroyed an inactive weather satellite.

This important technological acheivement drew praise from all quarters. The Congress party congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the government of India for the country's latest achievement.

"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," tweeted the Congress party.

Former DRDO chief VK Saraswat hailed the A-SAT test, and termed the Anti-satellite weapon as a 'fantastic capability to have'.

"Anti-satellite weapon A-SAT is a fantastic capability to have and it gives us a deterrence in case our adversaries try to militarise the space or try to prevent us from using our existing space capabilities," Dr VK Saraswat told ANI.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that testing of Anti-satellite weapon system "has thrown Pakistan electronic guidance of their jet fighter into blindness."

"Tremendous achievement by Namo Govt. It has thrown Pakistan electronic guidance of their jet fighter into blindness. Even Pak airforce jets flying over Pak territory can be shot down by blinded Pak radars. Congratulation to Namo's l," Swamy tweeted.

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