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Op-ed | India’s ASAT test is wake-up call for norms of behavior in space

8 Apr 2019, 15:51 UTC
Op-ed | India’s ASAT test is wake-up call for norms of behavior in space
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

On March 27, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his country had successfully conducted an anti-satellite (ASAT) test from a launch site on Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal. Hailed by Modi as a moment of “utmost pride” and with “a historic impact on generations to come,” Mission Shakti was seen domestically as proof India was a space power on par with the United States, Russia and China. Yet internationally, the test is further evidence of the more complex space domain, the lack of progress on developing norms of behavior for space, and the challenges of ensuring its long-term sustainability.
An Indian PDV-Mk II missile lifts off March 27 en route to intercept and destroy Microsat-R. Credit: Government of India
The likelihood that India would conduct an ASAT test was apparent to most India watchers. Ever since China destroyed one of its own weather satellites, the FengYun-1C (FY-1C), in January 2007, Indian space and security officials have debated internally the value of a possible Indian response to demonstrate that they too were a force to be reckoned with. India sees itself as locked in a regional competition with China for power and prestige, along with occasional military ...

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