India says its missile development crucial for national security
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address said India has become a space superpower with the successful testing of an anti-satellite missle on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India had joined the US, Russia and China in an elite group of nations that have the capability to target satellites.
In a televised address to the nation, Modi said India has shot down a low Earth orbit satellite, noting the capability was crucial for national security.
‘India has today established its name as a space power,’ Modi said. ‘Our scientists used an anti-satellite missile to bring down a live satellite, 300 kilometers away in space in what is called a ‘Low Earth Orbit’.’
India’s current range of missiles are mostly intended for confrontation with neighbouring rivals China and Pakistan. India has fought three wars with Pakistan and one with China.
‘It’s a big deal in terms of showing your capability,’ said Laxman Kumar Behera, a research fellow at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. ‘India has now shown its intent that it is a space power and it can use space if required for defense purposes.’
In 2007, China first used a ballistic missile to destroy its own old weather satellite orbiting 535 miles (861 km) above Earth; Russia has been testing a missile that could be used to strike and destroy a satellite or ballistic missile.
India’s space and missile programs -- along with its economic growth of more than 7 percent and a bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council -- is major part of the country’s efforts to build up its defence capabilities and establish itself as a world power.