After 11th May 1998 when India conducted Nuclear Tests at Pokhran Range in ‘Operation Shakti’; 27th March 2019 will probably go down as another seminal date in the history of India’s military deterrence and scientific achievements. On 27th March 2019, India conducted its first ever ‘Space Weapon’ test at 11:16 AM IST by launching an ASAT Missile to shoot down a live satellite LEO (Low Earth Orbit) at a distance of 300 kms in Space. India becomes the 4th nation in the world to successfully carry out a test of shooting down a satellite in space after US (1985), China (2007) & Russia (2015). In an address to the nation, Indian PM Narendra Modi officially declared this news to the nation and the world clearly underlying that the Space Weapon test was carried out for defensive use and not an aggressive posture against any country. India had the capability to test Anti Satellite (ASAT) weapons as India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) chief stated in 2012 but PM Narendra Modi showed the political will to take this bold step and acclaim the same before the international community.
The ASAT ensures India entry in the ‘STAR WARS’ elite club of nations. India can’t be left out or treated as a pariah like the treatment meted to its Nuclear Programme as it failed to conduct its maiden Nuclear Test before NSG was formed due to its pacifist approach. The timely ASAT test is in sync with Indian NSA Ajit Doval’ thoughts who had hinted that India must carry out its space capability test before the elite group of nations bar Space War technology & enforce a NSG type regime for it. Negotiations for an Outer Space Treaty with 58th Session in Vienna from 1st to 12th April 2019 are already on. Russia and China are collectively pushing for a UN treaty to stop militarization of outer space in view of the threat from US superiority. In response to Sino-Russia moves President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4) on 19 Feb 2019 ordering the Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States military. Thus the ASAT test by India is perfectly timed and capable enough to take out any form of electronic warfare carried out by adversaries from space & also help in developing an ICBM shield in the future to hit targets in space.
It is worth noting that China is in the midst of testing and deploying laser based ASAT weapons by 2020 with the capability to disrupt, destroy or degrade satellites and their sensors. In Part 6 of our book “The New Global Order” we have stated that India should test its capability for STAR WARS soon. This must not be limited to ASAT but also include the top secret Microwave KALI weapon that India is already developing to jam electronic warfare/jets/satellites of adversaries in space. Mission Shakti (2019) testing the ASAT weapon is thus a historic moment in India’s defence and space capabilities akin to ‘Operation Shakti’ for Nuclear Tests in 1998.