India's ASAT Missile Test Debris Will Burn Up In Atmosphere: Pentagon Chief

Posted April 07, 2019

Addressing the media for the first time after the anti-satellite launch on March 27 along with Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) G. Satheesh Reddy, Deputy National Security Advisor Pankaj Saran said that India is already actively engaged in all relevant global negotiations on outer space, including a group of experts on prevention of arms race in outer space.

NASA head Jim Bridenstine criticized India for the weapon test stating that NASA had identified 400 pieces of orbital debris and was tracking 60 pieces that are larger than 10cm in diameter.

According to NASA, in the ten days, since India conducted the test the chance of debris colliding with the ISS is up by 44%. He said that even NASA has claimed that the risk was for 10 days which are over today. The DRDO chief said that all the debris should be dissolved within 45 days. NASA says that the massive amount of debris the weapons test created in orbit around the Earth now poses a threat to the ISS. India has the capacity to hit target up to 1000 km and the test was intentionally held at a lower height.

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Explaining the strategic importance of the test, Reddy said India had demonstrated that it possessed the capability to intercept and kill a satellite - which acted as a deterrent vis a vis other countries. The satellite is tracked by many stations across the world and all the necessary permissions were taken to carry out the test, he added.

On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced that India has entered the elite club of nations to possess the capability to hit a target in space.

Decisions on the weaponisation of space would be taken by the government, Reddy said. On Thursday, Bridenstine had reportedly promised to continue its cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation.

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"As per our simulations, there were no possibilities of hitting the International Space Station with debris from the satellite", he added.

Shanahan said last week he believed India had avoided a similar scenario by testing at a lower altitude.

All critical technologies for the ASAT test were developed indigenously.

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"Post the formal approval in 2016, we started working on this project", Reddy said.