Mission Shakti and India By- Yasmin Gill
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Mission Shakti and India (The Hindu) India has entered an elite space club with DRDO blowing up a satellite in a Low Earth Orbit India has been in the business of testing long-range missiles for years, although public attention on the space programme has been mostly on its civilian and scientific aspects -The military dimension had not seen a verifiable demonstration as in the case of Mission Shakti The display of technological prowess brings into play an overwhelming assurance of what MEA describes as a 'credible deterrence' against attacks on India's growing number of space assets. While the country celebrates test as a scientific achievement, it must also dwell on the possibility that this might goad its none-too-friendly neighbour Pakistan into a competitive frenzy
Mission Shakti and India (The Hindu) In the absence of a credible threat to India's space assets from China or any other country with Anti-Satellite missile capabilities whether the 'deterrence' sought to be achieved by this test would lead to a more stable strategic security environment is not certain Made clear that India wanted to maintain peace rather than indulge in warmongering And, by targeting a low-orbit satellite, the missile test did the utrmost possible to minimise space debris, which is an issue of i nternational concern The satellite that was targeted was in low earth orbit Most space objects which the human race has sent up are in that region However GPS and communications satellites, which are of strategic importance fly much higher real proof of concept missile would have had to reach that altitude.
However, what has been achieved is not without strategic significance Maybe we can't attack comsats, but India would now probably be included in discussions on the militarisation of space Is it a geo-strategic shift? The effective space deterrence has heralded India's entry into an exclusive club of powers with space, land, air and sea-based weapons delivery platforms This not only helps safeguard space assets from long-range missiles, but also signifies India's strategic repositioning by leveraging the interceptor, part of the ongoing ballistic missile defence programme, as an offensive option -The principal international treaty on space is 1967 Outer Space Treaty India is a signatory to this treaty and ratified it in 1982 The Treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction
Interestingly, India was opposed to the 'Star Wars' programme of the US. The downing of the satellite follows India's willingness to rewrite the rules of the game and marks a geostrategic shift The options available to India also include inter-continental ballistic missiles such as Agni-V and VI -India is also reported to be developing Surya, which will exponentially enhance the strike range capability This sends a powerful signal to countries such as China and is an attempt by India to draw new red lines to redefine the security calculus This may also pave the way for the creation of a new space command on the lines of what the US has The test also comes against the backdrop of simmering tensions in the sub-continent with China's security concerns in South Asia historically been centred around its desire to use Pakistan to thwart India's rise as a challenger to its dominance n Asia.
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