Science 3 min read

India Successfully Tests Its First Anti-Satellite Missile

This new anti-satellite missile test could be a new chapter in the growing space arms race. ¦ Anton Chernigovskii /

This new anti-satellite missile test could be a new chapter in the growing space arms race. ¦ Anton Chernigovskii /

Indian authorities recently claimed to have successfully tested a satellite-destroying missile. With this announcement, the country’s military has joined the elite three of the U.S., Russia, and China that are also capable of this feat.

In his statement to the local news, India’s Prime Minister admitted that the country had achieved an impressive feat. “India is now a major space superpower,” Narendra Modi said.

The country has finally attained its military ambition of possessing weapons that’ll enable wars in space.

India’s Anti-Satellite Missile

To test its new capability, India destroyed one of its own satellites.

According to the Independent, the government launched the mini-satellite into orbit for this purpose, one month ago. Then on Wednesday morning, it launched the new interceptor missile from a complex on the East coast of India.

Despite the launch of an anti-satellite weapon, the government maintains that India remains against the use of arms in space.

In a statement to the local media, Prime Minister Modi said:

“India has always maintained that space should not be an arena for warfare and that remains unchanged in spite of this.”

India has had the technical capability to develop an anti-satellite missile for almost six years. However, the agencies in charge had never gotten a political go-ahead for the project, until now.

Why is the timing an issue, you ask?

Well, it just happens to be election season in India, with the polls opening in a couple of months. According to The Wall Street Journal, the anti-satellite missile launch may be a bid to increase Modi’s chances at re-election.

The Space Arms Race

The space arms race began way back in 1985 when the United States carried out its first test. In 2007, China also claimed to have carried out a successful trial.

While there is no exact timeline for when Russia came to possess this capability, the Pentagon recently warned the country was developing anti-satellite technology.

This includes jammers and lasers that are capable of damaging satellites in orbit.

While India’s launch may be an attempt to merely show off, the consequence is still significant. Speaking to The Independent, Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at Delhi’s Centre of Policy Research said:

“Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical. In this light, India’s successful ‘kill’ with an Asat weapon is significant.”

Whether it’s a military strategy or a re-election plan, creating a weapon – even for war in space – makes peace uncertain.

Read More: US to Officially Create Military Space Force

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Comments (4)
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  1. Profile Image
    Paul Weidner April 01 at 6:59 am GMT

    Is there no prohibition in creating space weapon?

    • Profile Image
      Claire Smith April 08 at 9:53 am GMT

      Although we have outer space treaty, there is no ban on air-, ground-, or conventional space-based anti-satellite or anti-missile weapons.

      • Profile Image
        Paul Weidner April 18 at 2:30 am GMT

        Seems like creating a solid agreement to ensure space security is very complicated not to mention the after effect of missile debris in our environment. 🤔

        • Profile Image
          Claire Smith April 19 at 7:13 am GMT

          Absolutely, such weapon might use for strategic defense or worst mass destruction. But, one thing is for sure, those missiles added to space debris that harming the environment.

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