India has completed testing the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile under the name of “Mission Shakti” on Wednesday, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced today afternoon.
“India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of #MissionShakti,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Anti-satellite weapons are created to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes.
India is the fourth nation to have achieved the feat. The US first tested ASAT technology in 1958, the USSR followed in 1964 and China in 2007. In 2015, Russia tested its PL-19 Nudol missile and followed it up with other tests.
“Within 3 minutes, India destroyed a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite 300 km away through an ASAT missile; it needed very precise expertise of technology,” PM Modi said.
The ASAT was developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Modi reassured the new technology will not be directed against any country, and that mission Shakti does not violate any international law.
There has been international debate on how to clamp down on tests of anti-satellite missiles. In 2013, a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Outer Space transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs) expressed concern over debris and proposed that tests leaving behind “long-lived debris should be avoided”. If debris cannot be avoided, other potentially affected states need to be kept in loop.