Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it had shot down one of India's own satellites in a demonstration of its growing power in space, the Pakistan government issued a call against military threats in outer space on Wednesday. “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’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“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,” it said, without mentioning India by name.
“Boasting of such capabilities is reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills,” it said, in a reference to the delusional hero of the 17th-century Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes.
Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers. "In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today," he said in an unprecedented broadcast to the nation on television, radio and social media. "India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of #MissionShakti," the prime minister tweeted later.
Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite. 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. Mission Shakti, which was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, was aimed at strengthening India's overall security, he said
The prime minister had advertised his address to the nation on Twitter, calling it an important message.
"Do watch the address on television, radio or social media," he said, setting off speculation across the country on what the topic was likely to be.
Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Committee on Security had met at the prime minister's residence.