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On Mission Shakti, Russia asks India to join effort against arms race in space

Russia has said that efforts should be made to prevent an arms race in outer space.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2019 13:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mission Shakti,India,Russia
Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor missile was launched by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ engaging an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha on March 27, 2019. (PTI)

Two days after India announced the success of Mission Shakti, Russia has asked New Delhi to join international efforts to ensure that outer space is not weaponised. It has referred to a Russian-Chinese draft treaty that is aimed at preventing weaponisation of outer space while offering India to join the efforts of “like-minded nations”.

“Russia intends to continue to make necessary effort to prevent an arms race in outer space,” reads a statement issued by the country, as reported by news agency ANI, in response to successful test of anti-satellite missile by India on Wednesday.

“The idea of developing a multilateral legally binding instrument for keeping outer space peaceful based on the Russian-Chinese draft treaty with support of a group of like-minded nations to prevent weaponization of outer space, the use or threat of force against space objects as well as multilateral initiative - political obligations not to be first to place weapons in space are becoming particularly important,” Russia said in the statement, according to ANI.

“We offer our Indian partners to actively join these joint efforts of the international community,” Russian statement said.

On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India has entered the elite club of nations to possess the capability to hit a target in space. India had shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), a reference to altitude less than 2,000 km. The other countries with such capability are the US, Russia and China.

Russia has blamed the “destructive actions of the United States”, ANI reported, for the “architecture of international security and strategic stability” situation that led to A-SAT test by India.

“We have to state that this action of India has been largely the result of the substantially degraded situation in the field of arms control,” the statement said.

According to ANI, Russia highlighted “the nondirectedness of this test against any specific country declared by the Indian leadership, as well as the reassurance of the continuity of New Delhi foreign policy to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space and thereby the development of an arms race in it”.

Earlier, the US had expressed concern about space debris following the anti-satellite (A-SAT) test carried out by India and said it expected that it does not endanger others’ equipment.

Acting US Defence Secretary Shanahan on Wednesday said space should be a place to conduct business with “freedom to operate”.

China, on its part, expressed hope on Thursday that all countries can take “real actions” to maintain lasting peace and stability in the outer space.

Soon after the announcement made by PM Modi in a televised address to the nation, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement, said India has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space. The MEA statement asserted that “space must be used only for peaceful purposes”.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 11:18 IST