A salesman watches Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing to the nation, on TV screens inside a showroom in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday. Francis Mascarenhas/ Reuters
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India had shot down a satellite in space on Wednesday with an anti-satellite missile, hailing the test as a major breakthrough in its space programme.
Modi made the announcement in a television address to the nation. He said India would only be the fourth country to have used such an anti-satellite weapon after the United States, Russia and China.
Such capabilities have raised fears of the weaponisation of space and setting off a race between rival powers.
“Some time ago, our scientists, shot down a live satellite 300 kilometers away in space, in low-earth orbit,” Modi said, calling it a historic feat.
“India has made an unprecedented achievement today,” he said, speaking in Hindi. “India registered its name as a space power.”
Modi faces a general election next month. He went on Twitter earlier to announce his plan for a national broadcast, saying he had an important announcement to make.
India has had a space programme for years, making earth imaging satellites and launch capabilities as a cheaper alternative to Western programmes.
Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at New Delhi's Centre of Policy Research, said the United States Russia and China were pursuing anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.
“Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical. In this light, India's successful “kill” with an ASAT weapon is significant.”
No comment was immediately available from old rival Pakistan. There was also no immediate reaction from China's foreign or defence ministries.
India lost contact with its unmanned spacecraft just before it was due to land on the Moon on Saturday, in a blow to the country’s ambitious low-cost lunar programme.
India lost contact with a spacecraft it was trying to land on the moon on Saturday, its space agency said, in a setback for the nation’s ambitious plans to become the first country to probe the unexplored lunar south pole.
Vyommitra can recognise humans and answer questions as well as carry out some experiments and can also converse with astronauts.
MUMBAI: India’s cricket selectors on Sunday named Rishabh Pant as their preferred wicketkeeper for all three formats for next month’s tour of West Indies with the future of long-serving glovesman Mahendra Singh Dhoni still shrouded in mystery. Dhoni, 38, has been the subject of intense speculation on his
This was done through two tents, one for men and one for women, that were equipped to take into account precautionary measures including social distancing.
Four civil defense teams were at the site trying to douse the fire.
The initiative comprises a WhatsApp number (050-4068222 ) through which women can get in contact with mental health practitioners.