India’s ASAT Weapon Test May Weaken Its Fight Against Risky Space Debris

In recent time, Narendra Modi—India’s Prime Minister—declared the successful test of India’s ASAT (anti-satellite weapon). During his address to the nation, he emphasized on India’s entry to the league of the global space powers and left out any revelation of the resulting space debris. While this maneuver adds India in the list of the selected handful nations to successfully conduct the test, it is incompatible with India’s position as a member of the IADC (Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee). Ajay Lele—Senior Fellow with the IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses)—said, “A similar trial by China was done in 2007 that has left behind a great amount of debris which is yet floating around.” As a member of the IADC, such a trial by India can undermine the nation’s credibility in the space arena.

Reportedly, India is also a participant of the OST (Outer Space Treaty), which forbids the employ of weapons into space and needs nations to take measures to diminish space debris. With regard to the first part, Kumar Abhijeet—Member of the IISL (International Institute of Space Law)—clarified, “If we look up the global treaty, ASAT testing is prohibited nowhere. We are working within the international regulations to make use of it.” But, in instances where space debris is formed, countries are under the compulsion to pay damages for any smash ups that happen from it. Abhijeet further said, “We are quite within the norms, but if there any debris that has been generated, as we are a member of worldwide treaties, we owe the accountability as well.”

On a similar note, recently, the Indian Ministry stated that A-SAT testing was not pointed to any country and does not infringe international law. “Test is not pointed in opposition to any nation. India’s space abilities do not intimidate any country nor are they expressed against anyone. Together, the government is dedicated to making sure the country’s security interests and is vigilant to threats from rising technologies,” the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) said while providing details of the test.

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