EC directs Committee of Officers to examine PM Modi's address to nation

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PM Modi hailed the country's first test of such technology as a major breakthrough that establishes it as a space power.

The anti-satellite missile launch on Wednesday led to some sharp political exchanges, with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "political theatre" and finance minister Arun Jaitley saying the opposition was raising "clerical" objections.

The Lok Sabha election begins on Aprill 11 and will end on May 19 in seven phases.

Speaking to Express.co.uk of the shock revelations, James Roberts of the Taxpayer's Alliance said: "India still receiving foreign aid cash, while overtaking Britain and becoming a space super power, will leave many taxpayers scratching their heads".

The sum would make it one of the cheapest manned space programmes in the world.

Though India has had the technical capability to develop ASAT weapons since 2012, agencies had in the past not been given the political go-ahead for the project. It recently engaged Pakistan in its first aerial dogfight in decades, fielding much older aircraft than its rival.

Ajay Lele, a senior fellow at the government-funded Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, said India was spurred into the anti-satellite program by China's test.

No worldwide covenant has been broken, according to the Indian PM.

The United States performed the first anti-satellite test in 1959, when satellites themselves were rare and new.

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

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The Soviet Union performed similar tests.

The similarities between ballistic missile defense and ASAT technologies are minimal when the core function of the interceptor is to kinetically destroy an object at exo-atmospheric altitudes, be it on a ballistic trajectory or in low-earth orbit.

In 1985, the United States tested the ASM-135, launched from an F-15 fighter, destroying an American satellite called Solwind P78-1. That weapon has yet to be tested against a live satellite target.

In 2008, the United States demonstrated an anti-satellite capability when a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Lake Erie launched a Standard Missile-3 interceptor.

Modi went on to assure that these ASAT missiles will not be used for destructive purposes, but only for security and defence.

He didn't provide details about the test, which he said was part of the "Mission Shakti", but revealed the satellite in question was shot down at 300km. "We are not involved in this activity and so we have no knowledge", said Vivek Singh, director, media and public relations for ISRO, when asked if ISRO was informed about the satellite debris.

His latest campaign follows a period of heightened tensions between India and rival Pakistan, which saw Indian pilot Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down in Pakistani territory and briefly detained.

His statement came after the prime minister announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite.

"I think not having rules of engagement is worrisome".

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