India shoots down satellite, joining space ‘super league’: Modi

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India becomes the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to have carried out the feat, says prime minister Modi.

India on Wednesday destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that puts the country in the space “super league”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

He said India would only be the fourth country to have used such an anti-satellite missile after the United States, Russia and China.

“A while ago our scientists shot down a live satellte at a low-earth orbit. I congratulate all scientists who have made this possible and made India a much stronger nation,” Modi said in a rare televised address to the nation weeks before the national elections scheduled to be held in April and May.

“This is a big moment for India. Something that all of us should be proud of. We are not just capable to defend on land, water and air, but now also in space,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV website.

The satellite was in orbit at 300km.

“This is of a huge significance. I will compare it to India’s first nuclear test [in 1998],” said Pallava Bagla, author of “Bridging the Communication Gap in Science and Technology: Lessons from India”.

“This will certainly increase India’s defence capabilities. India can now respond to threats from space assets of foreign countries. Only very few countries are capable of doing what India has demonstrated,” he told Al Jazeera.

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