India has entered an elite space club with Mission Shakti-Anti-Satellite Missile Test. What is Anti-Satellite Missile Test? Critically examine Mission shakti and its benefits for India?

It is the technological capability to hit and destroy satellites in space through missiles launched from the ground. Anti-satellite (A-Sat) weapons that attempt to directly strike or detonate near a satellite or other targets are called kinetic physical weapons.

Mission Shakti

  • India has tested the Anti-Satellite System(A-SAT) from Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, an island off the coast of Odisha.
  • The test was named as Mission Shakti.
  • It has successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit(an altitude of 300 km).
  • With this test India is now in the league of three countries after the U.S., Russia, and China to have such technology.

Anti-satellite (ASAT) System

  • It is missile- based system to attack moving satellites.
  • It is of 2 kinds—based on launching from the ground or from planes.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has -developed Anti-satellite (ASAT)completely indigenously.

Significance for India:

  • India among Elite Group –Anti-satellite technology has so far been in the hands of very few countries: United States, Russia and China. The acquisition and demonstration of this technology make India a member of an elite group of countries.
  • Indigenous Efforts – Indigenously developed technology adds to India’s credentials, given that for many decades India was kept away from acquiring key technologies, forcing the country to develop its own space and nuclear capabilities.
  • Capability to destroy enemy satellites –Anti-satellite weapons provide the capability to shoot down enemy satellites in orbit thereby disrupting critical communications and surveillance capabilities. It can cripple enemy infrastructure without causing any threat to human lives.
  • Space deterrence – Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.
  • Spin off effect –The acquisition of this technology is expected to have spin-offs that India can exploit for commercial use, both domestic and globally.
  • Drafting of International law: India expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space in its capacity as a major space faring nation with proven space technology. India was not considered a nuclear weapons state during Non-proliferation treaty because it did not test before January 1968.
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