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India – The New Space Super Power

India took a huge prudent leap in the sector of defense in the oblivion. Yes! India has become the fourth space superpower in the world after the successful execution of Mission Shakti. It has shown that India is rather obstinate when the safety of its citizens is concerned. And, it’ll proceed incessantly no matter what.

On 27th March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India as a space superpower after the successful completion of Mission Shakti executed by the DRDO. Here is an excerpt from his speech –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v6eRj7Hl0s

The Mission Shakti:

Mission Shakti was successfully completed on 27th March 2019 from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam island owned by the DRDO. During the mission, a LEO(Low Earth Orbit) Satellite was destroyed. We have now gained the capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space and that too with completely indigenous technology. With this, India has joined the other space faring nations – The USA, Russia and China. The interceptor used was DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defense Interceptor.

Launch of anti-satellite missile used for Mission Shakti
( Image Source : m.timesofindia.com )

This mission was one of the major space programs preceded by Mangalyan and the 102 Satellite program, and with Mission Gaganyan in line. The intension of the test, as stated by the GoI, is purely to enhance India’s national security. The government has said that it has no intention of entering into arms race in the outer space and that India is against militarization of outer space and supports the international efforts to reinforce the security of space based assets.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHGnGXr93q0

India as a responsible space faring nation:

“India believes that outer space is a common heritage for the human kind and it’s the responsibility of all space faring nations to preserve and promote the benefits gained from advances made in space technology and its application for all.” said the government of India after the success was announced.

India has always been a very responsible space faring nation. It already implements many TCBMs (Transparency and Confidence Building Measures) by registering its space objects with the UN, providing pre-launch notification, taking measures in harmony with the UN space mitigation guidelines.

India is an active participant in the IADC (Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination) activities. It has also undertaken SOPA (Space Object Proximity Awareness), COLA (Collision Avoidance) analysis and numerous other activities including hosting the UN affiliated Center of Space and Science Technology Education in Asia and Pacific regions.

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India has been participating in all sessions of the UN committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space. It also supports the UNGA resolution 69/32 according to which no first placement of weapons shall be done on the outer space by the nation. It supports the substantive consideration of the issue of PAROS (Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space).

International Laws on weapons in Outer Space:

Image Source : defencexp.com

According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, weapons of mass destruction (not ordinary weapons) are prohibited in the outer space. India has not violated any international law/treaty to which it’s a party or any national obligation, by conducting its ASAT missile testing.

International Reaction and Criticism:

India’s Mission Shakti was a major step not only for the country itself but also for its friends and foes. India has been receiving from all across the world once the success of the mission was officially announced.

According to the US experts, “The aim arguably has been satisfied today, but India still has a long way to go when ensuring space security is concerned.” A plane spotter based in California reported a US reconnaissance aircraft over the Indian Ocean monitoring India’s ASAT missile test. Although the US government has accepted to have known about the mission, but has rejected all other claims. The US, after studying the ASAT, has advised other nations against similar tests.

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China on the other hand has said “A big leap, but India still miles behind. We hope nations will uphold peace in outer space.” Some of the underway projects of China include – Direct Ascent Kinetic Kill Missiles, Directed Energy Laser Weapons and Satellite Jammers which can completely impair a nation when satellite guidance is concerned.

Pakistan has urged to stop the militarization of space. “Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to militarization of this arena.”

Mission Shakti demonstration generated space junk
(Image Source : firstpost.com)

NASA has called the test a terrible act as debris of the destroyed satellite pose danger to the ISS. However India has claimed that the debris will eventually burn out in a time span of about 10 months and the ISS shall not face any harm whatsoever. India was backed by the Pentagon in its claims.

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