The Pentagon has come out in defense of India’s Anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test ‘mission shakti’, saying that India is concerned about the “threats” it faces in space.
“The first lesson from the Indian ASAT is just the simple question of why did they do that. And the answer should be, I think to all the committee looking at it, is that they did that because they are concerned about threats to their nation from space. And therefore, they feel they have to have a capability to defend themselves in space,” US Strategic Command Commander General John E Hyten told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Earlier, NASA had criticised the mission shakti by claiming that the test had produced debris which could endanger the International Space Station (ISS).
Senator Tim Kaine, running mate of Hillary Clinton in 2016 had also voiced similar concerns. “What should the rules environment be, and what should we be doing to try to promote rules? India is an ally. We’re not talking about an adversary doing something. We’re talking about them testing some capacity, but then that creates challenges for all kinds of uses of space. How should we be solving problems like that?” Kaine had asked.
With the success of mission shakti India became only the fourth country to have ASAT capabilities after the US, Russia, and China.