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India becomes 4th country to use anti-satellite weapon in the demonstration of the ‘space of power’

India says it has successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon in an unexpected announcement a few weeks before the general elections. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

India was the fourth country to successfully use an anti-satellite weapon after the shot down in one of the low earth orbit satellites Wednesday, an act Prime minister Narendra Modi praised as the country’s first demonstration of “space power.”

Modes, in an unexpected announcement a few weeks before a general election, said scientists recording of the live satellite is more than 185 miles away.

“India has an unprecedented performance today,” he said, speaking in Hindi. “India registered its name as a space power.”

Indian has a space program for years, making the earth satellites and launching capabilities as a cheaper alternative to the Western programs.

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With the launch on Wednesday, it was only the fourth country to have used, such as an anti-satellite weapon after the United States, Russia and China, Modi added.

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The Indian ministry of foreign affairs said that the test took 3 minutes and was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure there was no debris in the space and that everything that was left would “decay and fall back into the Earth within a few weeks.”

“The ability is achieved by the anti-satellite missile test gives a credible deterrence against threats to our growing space on the basis of the assets of long-range ballistic missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles,” the ministry of foreign affairs said in the statement.

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Pallava Bagla, a science writer at the New Delhi Television Channel, said that with the good hitting of the fast-moving satellite, India had a “very important threshold.”

“India has demonstrated that we can, if threatened, an enemy satellite in space,” Bagla said.

China’s ministry of foreign affairs said he hoped all countries “can seriously protect lasting peace and tranquility in space”. The U.S. and Russia both refused to get an immediate comment, Reuters reported.

The announcement is Modi’s latest attempt to flex India’s military strength as his party seeks to maintain power in polls beginning April 11.

After 40 Indian soldiers killed in February, a suicide attack in the disputed Kashmir, India, said he retaliated with a “surgical strike” on a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

Then, in an air battle, Pakistan shot down one of India’s Soviet-era fighter jets, and requires scrutiny of India’s aging military hardware.

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Modi said on Wednesday that the new opportunity: “not at all,” and that India’s policy remains against the use of weapons in space.

Earlier this month, acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, argued 2020 Pentagon budget formed by the national security is threatened by China, including anti-satellite weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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