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Mission Shakti: India Shoots Down Satellite, Enters Elite Space Club

Mission Shakti: India Shoots Down Satellite, Enters Elite Space Club
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India Ahead

Mission Shakti: India Shoots Down Satellite, Enters Elite Space Club

PM Narendra Modi made the announcement in an address to the nation.

With an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile shooting down a live satellite as part of Mission Shakti, India has announced its entry into an elite Space Club. Only three other countries, the United States, Russia, and China possess this ability at the moment.

Announcing the success of Mission Shakti in an address to the nation shortly after noon on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the ASAT Missile had shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) about 300 km away. India was now a space superpower, the Prime Minister announced.

“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,” Narendra Modi said in his address.

“India stands tall as a space power,” he tweeted later. He pointed out that Mission Shakti was special because of two reasons – India is only the fourth country to acquire such a specialised & modern capability and the entire effort is indigenous.

The test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island launch complex and targeted a live Indian satellite. The DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor was used for the mission.

Mission Shakti For A Strong India

Prime Minister Modi emphasised that the test was not directed against any other country. It also did not violate any international law or treaty (deal), the PM pointed out. A strong India was needed for the peace and security of the region, he added.

He had caught the attention of the entire country after he took to Twitter and asked people to stand by for an address around 11.45 am-12 noon with “an important message”.

The address to the nation came barely two weeks before the start of the multi-phase Lok Sabha elections.

“In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today,” he said while making the announcement.

He pointed out that Mission Shakti “was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme”.

MEA Puts Out FAQs On Mission Shakti

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) put out FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the mission soon after the Prime Minister’s announcement.

Explaining why India had conducted the test, it said:

“India has a long standing and rapidly growing space programme. It has expanded rapidly in the last five years. The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched. Thereafter, the government has sanctioned the Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to outer space”.

It noted that the test did not create any space debris since it was carried out in the lower orbit; any debris that would have been generated would decay and fall back to earth within weeks.

India’s space programme was a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure, it said.

(Read – Indian Space Programme: Super Success Stories Over The Decades)

On why the tests were conducted now, the MEA’s FAQs said that, “The tests were done after we had acquired the required degree of confidence to ensure its success, and reflects the intention of the government to enhance India’s national security”.

Last year, India had tested an Advanced Air Missile Defence system that shoots down other missiles mid-air.

In October last year, India had inked a deal worth nearly $5 million with Russia for the S-400 Missile Defence System. It is considered to be one of the world’s most sophisticated shields against incoming ballistic missiles.

(Read – Why The Russian S-400 Missile Defence System Is Important For India)

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