In 'important message' to nation, Modi says India shot down satellite in space

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 27, 2019, 12.51 PM(IST)

Modi said India had successfully tested an anti-satellite missile. Photograph:( WION )

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The low earth orbit satellite was 300 kilometres up in space. Modi said the entire operation — dubbed Mission Shakti — took 3 minutes. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Wednesday that India had shot down a low earth orbit satellite with an A-Sat (anti-satellite) missile. 

With that, Modi added, India had become an "elite space power". 

Only three countries — America, Russia and China — the prime minister said, have this capability. India is the fourth to join the club. 

The operation had been called "Mission Shakti", and consisted of the A-Sat missile shooting down a live satellite in low earth orbit. 

The entire operation, Modi said, had taken three minutes. 

Modi added that India's A-Sat missile was not meant to be used for offence, but for defence. 

Modi said he wanted to clarify to the world's powers that this new technology was not meant to be used against any country, but that it was for India's defence. 

He added India is against a space race, and that "we still follow this policy". 

"We did not violate any international treaty," he added. 

"We want to use our technology for the safety and betterment of our 130 crore people," he said. "We need a strong India". 

Modi added that India's new anti-satellite missile will help the country "emerge as a safe, progressive and strong country". And that "we should be ready to counter all threats in the future". 

Modi had said earlier on Wednesday that he had an "important message" to give to the country. 

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"#MissionShakti is special for 2 reasons," Modi tweeted after making his announcement. 

"India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised & modern capability" and "entire effort is indigenous" he elaborated.