In a historic announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday declared to the nation that India had successfully developed anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) which can shoot down an enemy satellite. India has become the fourth nation in the world after the United States, China and Russia to demonstrate such complex technology, thus putting India in an elite group.
However, Congress party seems to in a hurry to discredit the achievements of Narendra Modi government and DRDO scientists resorted to its false narrative to assert that the Manmohan Singh led UPA government during 2012 had initiated the ASAT programme and credited the UPA government for the success.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, in his hurry to claim credit, shared a Times of India report to credit Manmohan Singh government for the success of the ASAT.
The UPA government had initiated the ASAT program which has reached fruition today
I congratulate our space scientists & the visionary leadership of Dr Manmohan Singhhttps://t.co/pJHBVGo5GA
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) March 27, 2019
Interestingly, the articles shared by Congress leaders like Ahmed Patel actually portrays a negative picture on the part of Congress. It seems that Congress leader shared these news reports without even reading the content of the report.
The above article suggests that DRDO was still at the initial stages of the ASAT weapon development programme and it reveals that the new ASAT weapon system would be coupled with Agni V’s propulsion system with the kill vehicle of the under-development two-tier ballistic missile system. Addition to that, the then DRDO Chief VK Saraswat had also revealed that the then UPA government under the leadership of Manmohan Singh had not given permission for the ASAT programme.
Another Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi also tweeted an India Today report to claim credit for her party for the ASAT programme. However, Chaturvedi did not carefully study the details in the report, as the then DRDO chief VK Saraswat had categorically said that the UPA government had not given any permission to the ASAT programme and till then they had only developed the building blocks for an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability.
India Takes on China: May 7, 2012:
“Today, we have developed all the building blocks for an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability,” DRDO chief Vijay Saraswat. https://t.co/0XsejQbiJl
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) March 27, 2019
In 2012, in an interview to India Today, he had stated that “Today, India has all the building blocks for an anti-satellite system in place. We don’t want to weaponise space but the building blocks should be in place. Because you may come to a time when you may need it. Today, I can say that all the building blocks (for an ASAT weapon) are in place. A little fine-tuning may be required but we will do that electronically. We will not do a physical test (actual destruction of a satellite) because of the risk of space debris affecting other satellites.”
In fact, senior Congress leader AK Anthony, who was the defence minister during the UPA government has rejected the claims of his own party men after he admitted that he himself was not aware of the operation. Speaking to the Republic TV amidst the controversy over UPA government blocking the ‘Mission Shakti’ in 2012-13, AK Anthony said, “I wasn’t aware if we were ready for this test under UPA. You can ask the Defence Secretary and check the records. I wasn’t told about this. I don’t want to politicise, I wasn’t aware of the space warfare programme.”
Speaking to ANI post the success of ASAT programme, former DRDO chief VK Saraswat has confirmed that UPA government did not give any permission for the ASAT programme. “We made presentations to National Security Adviser had 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,” said VK Saraswat.