Mission Shakti – India tests first anti-satellite missile system, PM Modi addressed the nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the DRDO-developed anti-satellite system A-SAT successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit. With this test, dubbed as Mission Shakti, India is only the fourth country after the U.S., Russia and China to have the technology.
Catapulting India into an elite league of countries with anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapons, Mission Shakti is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
In a rare televised address to the nation, PM Modi announced the success of the space defence mission programme when he declared that India has shot down a low-orbit earth satellite at a height of 300 km from the earth’s surface.
The entire operation of Mission Shakti took just three minutes. The US, Russia, and China already have the A-SAT technology. Describing Mission Shakti as a highly complex one, PM Modi credited the scientists for achieving the entire pre-decided target.
“This valour was achieved through indigenously built anti-satellite missile,” he said. According to ANI, the A-SAT weapon was launched around 11:16 am on Wednesday and targeted an Indian satellite which had been decommissioned. Mission Shakti was carried out from DRDO’s testing range in Odisha’s Balasore.
The target was a live satellite which was flying in a low earth orbit. The missile travelled a distance of almost 300 km from earth and hit the target within three minutes of its launch,” PM Modi said in a rare televised declaration of new military capability.
The test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris. Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
“We have mastered anti-satellite capability and we have today shown that we can hit satellites at long ranges with a few centimeters accuracy,” DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy told ANI.
Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at New Delhi’s Centre of Policy Research, said the United States, Russia, and China were pursuing anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapons. “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.
A-SAT weapon is likely to be the most potent military tool for the armed forces over the next few decades, notwithstanding a revolutionary technological breakthrough. PM Modi has asserted that Mission Shakti will not have any effect on India’s status in the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) or other such treaties.
The acquisition of this A-SAT technology is also expected to have spinoffs that India can exploit for domestic and international commercial use. 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.
The test is not directed against any country. India’s space capabilities do not threaten any country and nor are they directed against anyone.
At the same time, the government is committed to ensuring the country’s national security interests and is alert to threats from emerging technologies. The capability achieved through the Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.