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India Intends to Play a Role in Drafting Space Arms Laws, Says MEA on Mission Shakti

The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India intends to play a greater role in outer space, in its capacity as a major space faring nation with proven space technology.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:March 27, 2019, 3:07 PM IST
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India Intends to Play a Role in Drafting Space Arms Laws, Says MEA on Mission Shakti
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India had successfully demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a low-orbit satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers. With it, India has also made it clear that it intends to play a role in drafting laws to prevent an arms race in outer space.

The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India intends to play a greater role in the procedure, including inter alia on the prevention of the placement of weapons, in outer space in its capacity as a major space faring nation with proven space technology. “The principal international treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India is a signatory to this treaty, and ratified it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons,” the MEA further said.

It also made it clear that the test was not directed at any country and that "India’s space capabilities do not threaten any country and nor are they directed against anyone”. “At the same time, the government is committed to ensuring the country’s national security interests and is alert to threats from emerging technologies. The capability achieved through the Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles,” the government added. Denying any intention of entering into the space arms race, the government said that it has always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes.

“We are against the weaponisation of Outer Space and support international efforts to reinforce the safety and security of space based assets. India believes that Outer space is the common heritage of humankind and it is the responsibility of all space-faring nations to preserve and promote the benefits flowing from advances made in space technology and its applications for all,” the MEA said.

An Anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) are a space defence mechanism and are weapons that can target and destroy satellites that may be a threat to a nation’s defences. These can home in on LEO satellites that may be used to threaten a nation’s space infrastructure or may have been used for spying as well as military actions, and disable as well as destroy them.
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