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India's leap in space defence

New Delhi: India shot down one of its satellites in space on Wednesday with an anti-satellite missile to demonstrate this complex capability, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced. Declaring that India has established itself as a "global space power" after the success of operation 'Mission Shakti', Modi said that the missile hit a live satellite flying in a Low Earth Orbit.

The space mission gave the country 'new strength' and was an effort to secure a 'fast growing India'. "A strong India can be a guarantor of peace in the region and beyond. Our strategic objective is to preserve peace, not prepare for war." The announcement was made by the prime minister in a broadcast to the nation on television, radio and social media shortly before which he advertised his address on Twitter, calling it an 'important message'.

DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy said the anti-satellite missile test is a reflection of the country's growing capability to develop critical technology and that it will act as a 'good deterrence' Reddy said the clearance for the project was given over two years ago. "It is a great achievement for India," he said.

Experts and former scientists said that though India had the capability to carry out a similar test by 2012, the political leadership at that time did not give clearance to it. According to former DRDO chief Vijay Saraswat, India had the capability to carry out the test in 2012-13 but there was no political clearance from the Manmohan Singh government.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came out with a 10-point explainer to say that the anti-satellite missile test was carried out to verify India's capability to safeguard space assets and that it was not directed against any country. The MEA said the test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure there is no space debris."

Pakistan said, "Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to the militarisation of this arena." See P7

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