Editorial : Power in space: on Mission Shakti

Mission Shakti might have had one message for India, and another for the world
India has entered an elite(कुलीन /अभिजात वर्ग) space club with the Defence Research and Development Organisation blowing up a satellite in a Low Earth Orbit(परिक्रमा/क्षेत्र ) into smithereens(छोटो-छोटे टुकड़े). Such Indian capability(क्षमता/योग्यता) to take out moving objects has never really been in doubt:
the DRDO announced(घोषित करना/सूचना देना) it as early as in 2011. Indeed, India has been in the business of testing long-range missiles for years, although public attention on the space programme has been mostly on its civilian and scientific(वैज्ञानिक ) aspects(पहलू). The military dimension(परिमाण/पहलू) ,though always latent(अव्यक्त/गुप्त), had not seen a verifiable(सत्यापन ) demonstration(प्रदर्शन/सबूत) as in the case of Mission Shakti, the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test. The display of technological prowess through the test accentuates the military dimension and brings into play an overwhelming assurance(आश्वासन/विश्वास) of what the Ministry of External Affairs describes as a ‘credible deterrence(निवारण )’ against attacks on India’s growing number of space assets. Although only three other countries, the U.S., Russia, and China, have previously demonstrated this capability, it is possible to surmise(शंका/अनुमान)that countries with long-range missiles could do the same with equal(समान ) effectiveness(प्रभावशीलता). But India, surely, is staking a forward claim as a space weapons power.
While the country celebrates the test as a scientific achievement(उपलब्धि), it must also dwell on the possibility(संभावना/मुमकिन होना) that this might goad its none-too-friendly neighbour Pakistan into a competitive(प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक) frenzy(पागलपन/.आवेश) . Also, in the absence of a credible threat(धमकी/आशंका) to India’s space assets from China or any other country with Anti-Satellite missile capabilities, whether the ‘deterrence(निवारण)’ sought to be achieved by this test would lead to a more stable(स्थिर ) strategic(रणनीतिक ) security environment is not certain(कुछ/निश्चित). There are other questions, too. Will the test spur space weaponisation(हथियार)? Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while announcing the success(सफलता )of the test, was clear that India wanted to maintain(बनाए रखें) peace rather than indulge(लिप्त /पड़ना) in warmongering. And, by targeting a low-orbit satellite, the missile test did the utmost possible to minimise space debris, which is an issue of international concern(चिंता). But, within India, the timing of the test, when the country is already in election mode, doesraise(उठाना/बढ़ाना) concerns whether this was aimed at the domestic(घरेलू ) constituency(चुनाव क्षेत्र।). The Election Commission is now seized of the question whether the Prime Minister might have violated(उल्लंघन) the Model Code of Conduct(आचरण/आचार) . If it does find the timing amiss, the Modi government could be in for some serious(गंभीर ) embarrassment(शर्मिंदगी). Ideally, the test should not have been a matter for a partisan(पक्षपातपूर्ण ) political debate(बहस),but given the hypernationalist(अतिसक्रिय ) political plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mission Shakti might have more reverberations on the ground than it has had in space.

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