As the first step towards advancing its counter-space capabilities, India successfully tested its anti-satellite weapon on Wednesday. The announcement of this achievement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a address to nation.
Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research, said “the United States, Russia, and China were pursuing anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapons”.
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“Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical. In this light, India’s successful ‘kill’ with an A-SAT weapon is significant,” he told Reuters.
On Wednesday, DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy said, “We have mastered anti-satellite capability and we have today shown that we can hit satellites at long ranges with a few centimeters accuracy.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Mission Shakti’s success will help in strengthening India’s defence capabilities. “We are proud that our space and defence programme has touched unprecedented heights with this glorious achievement,” he said on Twitter.
Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite missile test, launched from the Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex on March 27, 2019. The mission was carried out by DRDO. The satellite used during the test was the one present in India’s lower orbit. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is responsible for developing India’s weapons such as strategic ballistic missiles like ‘Agni,’ was behind the development of the ASAT that was launched by India.
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With Mission Shakti, India has become the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to acquire the capability of space warfare. India joins the USA, Russia and China at the pinnacle of space technology where it now has anti-satellite weapon system. The Anti-satellite weapons have been in the incursion since the Cold War era when the USSR, now Russia, demonstrated its space defence power.
The military potential of such satellites are very diverse which strengthen the area of communication, navigation, and signal intelligence. Any country that has the capability to build its own ASATs, has an upper hand at the time of war. It can track and destroy the enemy satellite, communicate with troops or access vital information.