India: A Space Power
By Aaratrika Bal
Recently on the 27th March 2019, India declared itself as a space power. Our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared it as the same after the satellite was shot down using an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile from a range in the state of Odisha. He announced this in a specialized televised speech to the whole nation. It is also considered to be one of the biggest successes our country had made to date. Named “Mission Shakti” was achieved by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The Shakti (which signifies "control" or "power" in Hindi) mission endured three minutes, and the target was blown off in its orbit 186 miles from Earth, our Prime Minister stated, portraying it as a "proud minute" for India. The DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor was used for this mission. The test was done to confirm that India has the ability to defend our space resources.
It is the Government of India's duty to safeguard the nation's advantages in space. It was also made clear that this arrangement was not because of any nation, but only due to national security in the outer space too. But many questions also arose due to this. Our government’s way of handling strategies was questioned too as it has many loopholes. It had been estimated that expenditures on space research in India had increased from Rs. 4,163 crores in 2009- 10 to Rs. 11,538 crores in 2018- 19 . Apparently, this mission was not allowed to be carried out by the previous government. The government has mentioned that this anti-satellite mission will help to enhance national security in outer space. But this might not work out as expected. Other countries like China have their satellites placed in higher orbits and it will not be able to knock out those satellites. Thus, it might not prove to be a very active ‘spy satellite’. According to U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan, such anti- satellites tend to create a mess in the outer space and disturb the environment there.
It is also said by many intellectuals that developing countries often try to match the glamour and tend to adopt space programmes without thinking about the pros and cons. There is time to see what Mission Shakti has for us. It was also alleged that the proclamation of Mission Shakti despoiled the model code of conduct, but such allegations were scrapped off. Weapons contest in space ought not to be encouraged. India has constantly kept up that space must be utilized just for peace purposes. It is against the weaponization of Outer Space and supports worldwide endeavors to fortify the well-being and security of space-based resources. India trusts that Outer space is the regular legacy of mankind and it is the duty of all space-faring countries to safeguard and advance the advantages spilling out of advances made in space innovation and its applications for all. The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treat says that India is a consigner to this arrangement and authorized it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty prevents just weapons of mass annihilation in space, not regular and ordinary weapons. There is a need for such missions too. India has a long-standing and quickly developing a space program. It has extended quickly over the most recent five years. The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was effectively propelled.
From that point, the legislature has authorized the Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to space. India has embraced 102 shuttle missions comprising of correspondence satellites, earth perception satellites, test satellites, route satellites, aside from satellites implied for logical research and investigation, scholastic examinations and other little satellites. India's space program is a basic spine of India's security, monetary and social framework. The test was done to confirm that India has the ability to protect our space resources. It is the Government of India's obligation to protect the nation's advantages in space. This whole mission constitutes many advantages and disadvantages. Recently there had been reports where NASA claimed that the ASAT missile launched by our nation had created a threat to International Space Station. Also, the scientists of NASA believe that since the satellite is at a lower orbit, it will disintegrate over time. Even some DRDO scientists had agreed to it. Thus, we should definitely think twice before calling and considering this mission totally successful.
After all these arguments to prove if the mission was successful and necessary or not, it is quite evident that a lot of national wealth and resources had been spent in order to achieve success in this mission. In 2014, India launched a satellite to Mars that cost $74 million. It can definitely be argued saying that this mission was unnecessary at different angles. Also, it is because apparently, the satellites will disintegrate over time and thus prove to be useless. The wealth spent here could be spent on other developments of the nation, for instance; fighting poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, starvation, etc. This “stunt” of our government had shown its incapability to make some proper strategy that is useful for the nation.
Developing countries often tend to perform such “stunts” in order to create a glamour at a global level. It is very essential to make a proper strategic plan for the development of the country. We have to wait now, in order to see how this mission contributes to the development of the nation and see if it actually affects the outer space.