India has shot down a live satellite in near-Earth orbit as part of a successful test of new rocket technology, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced.
The operation called Mission Shakti makes India a "super league" of nations that have achieved such a feat, Modi said alongside the US, Russia and China.
The announcement comes weeks after India's air strikes with Pakistan because of the disputed border of Kashmir. "This new technology is not directed against any particular country," said the Prime Minister.
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The goal of the test was "one of India's underground satellites in India," said a foreign ministry source rather than an asset owned by another country. Experts said that a minisatellite was placed in low orbit a month ago, probably for this purpose.
Mr Modi's speech, which he followed as an "important statement" on Twitter, was simultaneously broadcast on All-India Radio and all national channels television channels.
India is currently in the election season. In a few weeks, elections will be opened Under Indian law, the government can make no political or political announcements that can be considered electoral.
Questions are asked about the timing of the test, which comes close to a general election. "That India was capable of that was already well known," said PallTV Bagla, science editor of NDTV.
Madhavan Nair, former head of the Indian Space Agency, Isro, said: "Mr Modi has decided to take this step … to show that we have skills in this area," and if another country relies on the satellites India could "respond in time" and India described it as "a great achievement for the country."
China launched its first successful anti-satellite test in 2007, the protests of other world powers The US and Russia had already tested similar technology in the 1980s, despite a 1967 UN treaty prohibiting such activity.
Washington ended its anti-satellite tests in 1985, raising concerns about the danger, large ones Generating quantities of space debris One source in the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said his own test was deliberately carried out in the lower atmosphere "to ensure that the resulting residue will disintegrate and fall back to earth within a few weeks".
The US, China and Russia continue to pursue anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, said Brahma Chellaney, a security expert with the Delhi Center of Policy Research.
"Space is being turned into a front, making the counter room's capabilities critical. In this light, India's successful & # 39; kill & # 39; with an ASAT weapon of great importance.
While India is in campaign mode, government announcements regarding national security do not require prior approval by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Modi concluded his TV statement with a listing of his government's bailouts and seemed to limit the scope of what
Since the collapse of India with Pakistan in February, the Prime Minister, who is seeking re-election, has made great efforts to make national security one of the major electoral issues.
Last week, he changed his Twitter profile to "Chowkidar (Watchman) Narendra Modi", and many of his ministers and followers followed suit.
Opposition parties, including the Rahul Gandhi Congress Party, have targeted the government for job creation, peasant welfare and women's rights.
In a tweet from his official report, Congress said it "congratulated [s] Isro, DRDO (military research agency) and the government on the recent achievement for India". It noted that the Indian Space Program and Isro itself were founded by former congressional leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi followed suit with his own tweet and said he had previously been "extremely proud" of the DRDO research agency. He added a subtle dig to Mr. Modi and wished him "a very happy World Theater Day".
Akhilesh Yadav, leader of the socialist Samajwadi party, was one of the more outspoken opposition leaders who responded to the announcement of Modi. The Prime Minister, he said, "got himself an hour of free TV to distract the nation's attention from the soil problems … pointing to the sky."
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