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India Shoots Down Satellite in Space; Modi Hails Major Breakthrough

India Shoots Down Satellite in Space; Modi Hails Major Breakthrough

Indian men watch the live broadcast of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi address to the nation on televisions displayed in an electronic store, in Amritsar, March 27, 2019. "Even though we have the capability to do at higher altitude, we have done it in lower altitude as a responsible nation", Reddy said. The country is now developing a plan to launch a manned space mission in 2022. "Space is a place where people should have the freedom to operate", Shanahan told a small group of reporters on Wednesday, without saying whether he believed India's test left debris.

In an unexpected address to the nation Wednesday, Modi called it a major breakthrough in the country's space capability.

He applauded India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for realizing the capability.

Modi's opposition says the timing of technology testing is political and they will look to submit a complaint with the electoral commission.

In 2008, the United States demonstrated an anti-satellite capability when a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Lake Erie launched a Standard Missile-3 interceptor. India can now respond to threats from space assets of foreign countries. China had achieved its own anti-satellites in 2007.

A spokeswoman for the USA mission in Geneva, which handles disarmament issues, had no immediate comment on the Indian test. [Apart from launching imaging and intelligence] satellites for defence, we have added an element to ensure that we are capable of taking care of the security of our space assets against any interference. Codenamed "Mission Shakti", the missile destroyed a Low Earth Orbit Satellite that was launched by ISRO on January 24 earlier this year.

Modi went on to assure that these ASAT missiles will not be used for destructive purposes, but only for security and defence.

Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government has taken a strong position on national security, launching air strikes last month on a suspected militant camp in Pakistan that spurred retaliatory raids. While speaking to the reporters in Amethi during the second leg of her three-day Lok Sabha election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, she said, "I've not decided yet but if my party asks me to contest, I will definitely do so".

Addressing a convention of the party's Other Backward Classes (OBC) department, Gandhi said the prime minister has realised that the Congress will now give justice to the poor. "This is to secure and defend fast-growing India", he said. "So some kind of sharing of capabilities can't be ignored", Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, another Delhi think-tank, said.

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