India shoots down a satellite in space using a Ballistic “Space Weapon”

India became the fourth country to successfully use an anti-satellite weapon after it shot down one of its low earth orbit satellites Wednesday – an act Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed as the country’s first demonstration of its “space power.”

Modi, in an unexpected announcement just weeks before a general election, said scientists shot the live satellite located more than 185 miles away.

“India has made an unprecedented achievement today,” he said, speaking in Hindi. “India registered its name as a space power.”

Indian has had a space program for years, making earth imagine satellites and launch capabilities as a cheaper alternative to Western programs.

With its launch on Wednesday, it became only the fourth country to have used such an anti-satellite weapon after the United States, Russia, and China, Modi added.

The Indian foreign ministry said the test lasted 3 minutes and was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure there was no debris in space and that whatever was left would “decay and fall back into Earth within weeks.”

“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 foreign ministry said in the statement.

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