India claims to shoot down satellite, join ‘space superpowers’


–Pakistan says every nation has responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to militarisation of space

Pakistan on Wednesday asserted its adherence to “non- militarisation of space” after India claimed to destroy a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test, thus becoming the fourth country in the world to have carried out the feat.

Just weeks before India goes to the polls, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the scientists “shot down a live satellite at a low-earth orbit”.

“This is a proud moment for India,” the prime minister said in his first televised national address since late 2016.

“India has registered its name in the list of space superpowers. Until now, only three countries had achieved this feat.” The satellite was in orbit at 300 kilometres when it was destroyed.

Modi claimed that the mission was peaceful and not designed to create “an atmosphere of war”, adding it was “not directed against any country”.

Responding to the development, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said Pakistan believed there was a need to address gaps “in the international space laws with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development.”

“Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to the militarisation of this arena,” said the FO.

“We hope that countries which have in the past strongly condemned demonstration of similar capabilities by others will be prepared to work towards developing international instruments to prevent military threats relating to outer space.”

Taking a jibe at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing the anti-satellite test as a major breakthrough in its space programme, the FO spokesperson quipped that “boasting of such capabilities is reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills.