India has become the fourth country in the world to become a space power which means that it now has the capability to take out an enemy satellite in space, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday.
The major announcement came minutes after the Prime Minister himself announced that he is going to share an “important message” with the nation.
“India has registered its name as a Space Power today. Only three countries – US, Russia and China – had this capability. India is now the fourth country that has achieved this feat. There cannot be anything bigger than this matter of pride for all Indians,” the PM said in an address to the nation.
The PM said that an indigenously-built anti-satellite (ASAT) missile successfully destroyed a target satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) meaning that the country now has the ability to destroy any enemy satellite in space.
Called Mission Shakti, the entire operation from the firing of the missile to the destruction of the target took just three minutes.
“Our anti-satellite missile destroyed the target in just 3 minutes. Mission Shakti was a very tough operation. This involved a very high degree of technical expertise. The scientists achieved all the objectives related to the mission,” he said while congratulating all who were involved in the mission.
Though the message was clear to all of India’s adversaries, the PM assured the global community that the technology will not be used “against anyone”.
“This (technology) is to strengthen the defence of a fast-growing India. This test does not violate any international law or treaty. We are against arms race in space,” the PM stressed.
“Our objective is to ensure the security of the 130 crore people of our country. Thus a powerful India is necessary for peace. We do not intend to create an atmosphere of war,” he added.
“The primary goal,” the PM said, “is India’s security, technological advancement and economic progress. Mission Shakti ensures the safety of these goals.”
The PM said that the country must adopt new technology as it is necessary that we move forward and prepare ourselves for the future.
“I envision an India which can think two steps ahead of its time and has the courage to take those steps,” he said.
His message to the nation came at a very short notice. The PM, at 11.23 am, took to Twitter to announce that he will be share an ““important message” at around 11.45 am or 12 noon sending observers as well as the people into a tizzy.
In his tweet the PM said that his address to the nation can be watched on TV, radio and social media.
“My dear countrymen, today at around 11.45 – 12.00 o’clock I will come amidst you with an important message,” the PM wrote in Hindi.
“I would be addressing the nation at around 11:45 AM – 12.00 noon with an important message,” he said, adding, “Do watch the address on television, radio or social media.”
A series of second guesses ranging from an announcement on security to a counter to Congress’ recent mega announcement of a scheme for the poor started doing the rounds.
Modi’s announcement came just days before the nation heads to polls for the 17th Lok Sabha. The PM usually addresses the country through his Mann Ki Baat programme every month.