From 'Operation Shakti' to 'Mission Shakti': India's journey from nuclear giant to space power

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 27 March 2019, 03:53 PM
Operation Shakti to Mission Shakti
Operation Shakti to Mission Shakti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite. 

The mission, led by the Defence Reseach and Development Organisation, was code-named "Mission Shakti" in which an anti-satellite weapon ASAT successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO). 

Addressing the nation, the prime minister said India's action was not directed against any country. Shooting down a low earth orbit satellite is a rare achievement for the country, he said.

The satellite was orbiting at an altitude of 300 km, he said, describing India as a space power.  India has become the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to have carried out the rear feat.  

The name 'Mission Shakti' seems to be an allusion to the strategic breakthrough India achieved with 'Operation Shakti' nuclear tests of 1998, which are also referred to as 'Pokhran-II'.

On May 11, 1998, Pokhran II commenced with five underground nuclear detonation tests. Following Operation Shakti, India became the sixth nuclear superpower in the world, a step which was widely condemned by many nations for threatening peace of the world. 

The tests were initiated on 11 May 1998, under the assigned code name Operation Shakti, with the detonation of one fusion and two fission bombs. 

On 13 May 1998, two additional fission devices were detonated, and the Indian government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shortly convened a press conference to declare India a full-fledged nuclear state. The tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states, including Japan and the United States.

While Wednesday's test is pegged as a major success, India has been working on this technology for at least a decade, with the DRDO seriously persuing it from 2012.  

First Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 03:29 PM
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