A wave of jubilation overwhelmed the country as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that anti-satellite missile A-SAT has successfully targeted a live satellite on low earth orbit. India is now the fourth country to be a space power (after Russia, the US and China).
Prime Minister also underlined that the “entire effort is indigenous”.
President Ram Nath Kovind in a tweet described Mission Shakti a watershed moment for India. “Testing of the Anti-Satellite Missile demonstrates India’s scientific prowess and commitment to harnessing space technology for the security and empowerment of our people. My congratulations to all concerned.” mu
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu in a tweet said: “Compliment our Scientists on their successful launch of anti-satellite missile. We, as a nation, are proud of our Scientists. #MissionShakti #ASAT.”
In his public address in the afternoon, the Prime Minister announced that India had “shot down” a low orbit satellite in ‘Mission Shakti’.
Stating it was a “moment of pride” for all Indians, Modi said the country is now the fourth country to be a “space power” (after Russia, the US and China).
India has successfully targeted a live satellite, anti-satellite weapon A-SAT, on a low Earth orbit, the prime minister said. He called this a “big milestone”, and said that India is proud of its scientists.
According to him, Mission Shakti took three minutes to complete.
“Our aim is to maintain peace over war mongering. The space programme’s aim is peace, India’s economic and technological progress,” he said.
An FAQ released by the Ministry of External Affairs attested to this: “The test was done to verify that India has the capability to safeguard our space assets.” However, the page was taken down shortly after sans any explanation.
Modi said: “My aim is to make every Indian feel secured. I have great belief in the countrymen’s capabilities, commitment, dedication and ability to craft unitedly a nation which is strong, prosperous and secure. I envision such a Bharat where people can imagine such futuristic projects and garner the courage to go forward.”
A-SAT not against any country
MEA, however, sought to put things in right perspective as it said: “Test is not directed against any country. India’s space capabilities do not threaten any country nor are they directed against anyone. At the same time, government is committed to ensuring country’s national security interests and is alert to threats from emerging technologies.”
Politicians across party lines started congratulating the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and space scientists for making India “a space superpower”.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its scientists for the success of ‘Mission Shakti’.
Praising the DRDO and its scientists associated with “Mission Shakti”, Kumar expressed happiness on India becoming the fourth country in the world to join the exclusive club of space super powers after the US, Russia and China, an official release said.
However, Congress looked vying for credit for the initiative, as it said the credit for the A-SAT test goes to the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s initiation.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, however, preferred going satirical while congratulating the DRDO scientists: “Well done DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day.”
However, ANI news agency reported citing Former DRDO Chief Dr VK Saraswat : “We made presentations to National Security Adviser & National Security Council, when such discussions were held, they were heard by all concerned, unfortunately, we didn’t get positive response (from UPA), so we didn’t go ahead.”
Mamata Banerjee, who said they would be lodging a complaint with the Election Commission, called the announcement “another limitless drama and publicity mongering by PM Modi…” This is a gross violation of the model code of conduct”.
She said the scientists deserve the credit and like always, the Prime Minister took credit for the success of ‘Mission Shakti’.
“Research, space management and development are a continuous process. Modi, as usual, likes to take the credit for everything. Credit to those who really deserve it, our scientists and researchers,” Banerjee said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the DRDO and entire scientific community in achieving yet another milestone by successfully testing the ASAT technology.
Rajathan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in his tweet congratulated the scientists of DRDO for the success of Mission Shakti and for making India as an “elite space power”. “We are so proud of the achievements and efforts of DRDO towards strengthening the country’s security since its inception in 1958.”