March 27, 2019
BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday in an address to the nation claimed that India successfully tested its anti-satellite (ASAT) missile system in a classified exercise code-named 'Mission Shakti.'
Mission Shakti, a long-desired capability tested
“Mission Shakti operation was a difficult target to achieve but was completed successfully within three minutes of launch,” he said, adding that India successfully targeted a live satellite in LEO (low earth orbit).
India’s success comes a good 12 years after China tested a similar technology, and India has become only the fourth country to have such a technology, with the US and Russia being the other two. While Wednesday’s test is pegged as a major success, India has been working on this technology for at least a decade, with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) seriously pursuing it from 2012.
Avinash Chander, former DRDO chief who was instrumental in building the organisation’s missile capabilities said: “This is an extension of the DRDO’s long-range ballistic missile programme of the extra-atmospheric interception. While we had been working on this technology for long, the current programme was initiated some time recently.”
Scientists with DRDO said the project had not got the final sanction under the previous UPA government. Chander further explained that unlike the Agni-V and the long-range anti-ballistic programme, bringing down a satellite has several other challenges.
#WATCH Simulation of the #ASAT BMD interceptor missile (video courtesy: Defence sources) #MissionShakti https://t.co/U5Bot6tFx3
— ANI (@ANI) 1553676448000

Space War?
“Since we’ve overcome that, this is a major milestone,” Chander said. Another scientist said that this will further India’s capabilities to deter a space war, in the advent of such a scenario.
However, no country that has boasted of ASAT in the past has ever used it to bringing down satellites belonging to other countries. Modi too reiterated this and said: “India has always been for peaceful space endeavours and that policy has not changed. This is only to demonstrate that we are capable of doing it if the need arises.”
While the PM said that India hit a live satellite, Isro has not yet confirmed this, although sources said that it could either be the Microsat-R (launched in January 2019) or the Microsat-TD (launched last year) satellites. Neither DRDO nor any other agency confirmed the location from which the missile was launched.
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