After India entered the elite space club of four countries that have anti-satellite missiles with a test launched today, its neighbours Pakistan and China reacted differently to India’s ‘Mission Shakti’.
While China expressed hope that all countries will uphold peace and tranquillity in the outer space, Pakistan said that countries should use space technologies only for socio-economic development.
Pak decries Mission Shakti
Pakistan called on the international community to condemn the act and strengthen international laws regarding the militarization of space.
“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,” said a spokesperson for the Pakistan government.
The spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan has been a strong proponent of Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space. He said, “Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to the militarization of this arena.”
Pakistan took the literary route to decry India’s display of space prowess by quoting Don Quixote. Mocking the announcement of the anti-satellite missile test by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan said that “boasting of such capabilities is reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills” a phrase which means to fight imaginary enemies.
China remains guarded
China, on the other hand, was guarded in its reaction to the launch of the anti-satellite missile.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a written response to a question from news agency PTI on India successfully test-firing an anti-satellite missile, said: “We have noticed reports and hope that each country will uphold peace and tranquillity in outer space.”
China conducted such a test in January 2007 when its anti-satellite missile destroyed a defunct weather satellite.
India launches satellite killer
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday [March 27] announced that India successfully test-fired an anti-satellite missile by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers.
The test makes India the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to acquire the strategic capability to shoot down enemy satellites.
Prime Minister Modi said that the action was not directed against any country and the satellite was a pre-determined target orbiting at an altitude of 300 km.
He said India did not breach any international laws or treaties by testing the anti-satellite missile.
Mission Shakti, which was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, was aimed at strengthening India’s overall security, he said in his address that comes a fortnight before the start of the general election.
(with inputs from Hamza Ameer in Islamabad and PTI)