Mission Shakti: India becomes 4th Nation To Successfully Test ASAT Missile

Mission Shakti: India becomes 4th Nation To Successfully Test ASAT Missile

In a special televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced that the nation has joined the league of space powers by shooting down a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite revolving around 300 km from earth in outer space through its own indigenous made anti-satellite (ASAT) missle.

The ASAT missile was launched from APJ Abdul Kalam Island (previously Wheelers Island). The whole operation took only three minutes to complete and was overseen by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) India. With this test, on 27 March 2019, India became 4th nation to successfully test an ASAT weapon.

The idea of an Indian ASAT weapon was pitched in 2010 by then DRDO chief and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, V.K. Saraswat.  He said "with the successful testing of AGNI-III, we have the propulsion system which can be used to propel a kill vehicle in the orbit. We have the capability required to guide a kill vehicle towards the satellite."

However, the idea of an ASAT weapon originated during the Cold War between the USA and USSR. On September 13, 1985, the United States became the first country to successfully test an ASAT missile when USAF launched ASM-135 ASAT from a modified F-15 Eagle fighter to take down its own satellite. Later, the USA was joined by USSR and then China. On the other hand, Israel is another missile technology equipped nation which seems to have ASAT capabilities, but they have not tested such weaponry.

The Indian test does not violate any International law or treaty and also supported UNGA resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer Space. The test was simply done to verify that India has capabilities to safeguard its space assets.

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