Whose ‘Shakti’ is that?

Right from the moment Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation Wednesday to announce that the DRDO-developed anti-satellite system (A-SAT) successfully destroyed a live satellite in the low earth orbit, as part of Mission Shakti, a debate is happening on political, intellectual and social media spheres. Soon after the announcement, politicians cutting across party lines congratulated the defence research body but attacked the government saying it was done to gain political points two weeks ahead of polls.

While Congress president Rahul Gandhi congratulated DRDO and wished Modi ‘a very happy World Theatre Day’, senior leader Ahmed Patel tweeted congratulations to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said ‘there is no doubt the concept of A-SAT was finalised by the Congress government after the phenomenal success of the Agni program’. He also added that ‘concept of team work is alien’ to BJP. With TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister wondering whether Modi is going to space and stating they will complain to the Election Commission, the poll body said it is studying last morning’s announcement by Modi about the anti-satellite missile test, Mission Shakti, to find out whether it was violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Meanwhile, Defence Research and Development Organisation director-general V K Saraswat claimed that his team had proposed it to the previous government as well but had not got a response. Former Indian Space Research Organisation chairperson G Madhavan Nair also said India had the capability for an anti-satellite missile more than a decade ago but there was no ‘political will’ then to demonstrate it. On the social media, those supporting and opposing the BJP are involved in a war of words, posts and memes. Against all these, there is no denial that the capability of attacking a satellite in orbit closer to Earth achieved by the Indian defence scientists Wednesday would give a ‘tactical weapons’ edge to the country. It is time for the whole nation to set aside political differences and celebrate the achievement. Let the EC take a call on the accusations.

NT Bureau