PM Narendra Modi had yesterday made an announcement that India has entered the elite group of nations that have the power to target and destroy enemy satellites in space. With the successful completion of Mission Shakti, the DRDO developed ASAT claimed the rare feat.
However, as it happens in India, soon after the announcement, there was a collective effort from the opposition and Congress supporting media persons to first downplay then attempt to shift the credit of the significant achievement made by Indian scientists and the political will needed to execute it.
Congress and its supporters in the mainstream media went into a rant claiming that the feat was achieved in 2012 itself. However, it was soon clear that even if the DRDO and associated organisations had stated that they have the capabilities in place for developing such a weapons system, the then government did not proceed with it. Former DRDO chief VK Saraswat gave PM Modi the credit for achieving the feat.
Reports citing government sources and statements from the former DRDO chief stated that the go-ahead was given in 2016. He had added that if the then UPA government had given the go-ahead, India would have achieved the success in 2014 itself.
Embarrassing the Congress further, former defence minister AK Antony stated that he had no idea about the program, making it clear that the then government never gave it much thought.
G Sateesh Reddy, the current chairman of DRDO has stated to ANI in an interview that the DRDO reports to NSA Ajit Doval on strategic matters and he had given the go-ahead for the tests with concurrence from PM Modi.
DRDO Chairman to ANI: The NSA (Ajit Doval) whom we report to on strategic matters gave the direction to go ahead with the test and he had the concurrence from the PM. The development started a few years back and we went into mission mode in the last 6 months. #MissionShakti pic.twitter.com/egXlyKJM3W
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2019
He stated that the development had started a few years back, but the DRDO entered into mission mode in the last six months. He also added that in the last 6 months, about 100 scientists had worked round the clock to achieve the launch date target.
the DRDO chief also stated that the ASAT developed by them has the capabilities to target and destroy any satellite in the entire Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), that is up to a 1000 km.
#WATCH DRDO Chairman G Sateesh Reddy to ANI, “A-SAT missile has capabilities of targeting all ‘Low Earth Orbit’ satellites. It has a range of upto a 1000 Kilometers plus” #MissionShakti pic.twitter.com/IsQ31f0xxN
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2019
India’s ASAT is a monumental achievement not only because it boosts our strategic capabilities and puts India in an elite group of nations which, till yesterday, had only USA, Russia and China as members, it gives us a major advantage in defence preparedness because, with this technology in hand, India can now knock out communications satellites of an enemy nation in case of conflict.