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India's A-SAT weapon capability to serve as deterrent, not threat

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New Delhi, Mar 27: India has become the fourth nation in the world after United States, China and Russia to demonstrate anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite.

 File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In a special address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers.

What is Anti-satellite (ASAT) Missile?

Outer Space Treaty of 1967

Such capabilities have raised fears of the weaponisation of space and setting off a race between rival powers. Anti-satellite tests are prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

Outer Space Treaty, formally Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, (1967), international treaty binding the parties to use outer space only for peaceful purposes.

The treaty came into force on Oct. 10, 1967, after being ratified by the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and several other countries.

What PM Modi had to say to the International community

"Today, we are using space and satellites for all sorts of purposes, including agriculture, defence, disaster management, communication, entertainment, weather, navigation, education, medical uses, and other things. In such a situation, the security of these satellites is extremely important," he said.

"I want to assure the international community that our newly acquired capability is not targeted at anyone. This is a defence capability of an India which is progressing at a rapid pace," he said.

"India has always maintained that space should not be an arena for warfare and that remains unchanged in spite of this. India has always been a nation of peace, but we also defend ourselves. It is with that intention that we achieved this capability," the Prime Minister added.

"A-SAT not directed at any country, but will ensure country's national security interests"

"We will only use modern technology for the security and welfare of 130 crore Indians. A strong India is necessary for the security of this region. Our strategic goal is to ensure peace and not create an environment for war," he further said.

MEA clarification

The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement said that India's space capabilities do not threaten any country nor are they directed against anyone.

Reiterating PM Modi's words, the MEA said the government was committed to ensuring the country's national security interests and is alert to threats from emerging technologies.

The MEA further said the capability achieved through the Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to India's growing space-based assets from long-range missiles and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.

It also said India had "no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space".

"We have always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes. We are against the weaponisation of outer space and support international efforts to reinforce the safety and security of space-based assets," it said.

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