India is likely to use its “Mission Shakti” to seek a place for India among the “big powers” — United States, Russia and China — and play a key role in drafting international laws to prevent the militarization of outer space.
India's successful anti-satellite missile test on Wednesday put it in an elite club that had so far consisted of US, Russia and China.
“India expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space in its capacity as a major space-faring nation with proven space technology,” the Ministry of External Affairs stated in New Delhi shortly after the prime minister announced that Mission Shakti had been conducted successfully.
New Delhi supported the United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer Space.
India, however, maintains that the UNGA resolution was only an interim step and not a substitute for concluding substantive legal measures to ensure the prevention of an arms race in outer space, which should continue to be a priority for the international community.
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) — a multilateral forum to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements — has on its agenda a treaty on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) since mid-1980s at least.
New Delhi is in favour of “substantive consideration” on the PAROS treaty in the CD and is participating in the discussion at the Group of Government Experts.
Though India has a long-standing and rapidly growing space programme, the United Nations in 2011 kept it out of the GGE it constituted on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities. New Delhi had lodged a strong protest not only at the CD, but also at the UNGA.
The MEA on Wednesday pointed out that India had undertaken 102 spacecraft missions consisting of communication satellites, earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellites, apart from satellites meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
“India’s space programme is a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure,” it stated, adding that Mission Shakti had been carried out to verify that India had the capability to safeguard its space assets. “It was the responsibility of the Government of India to defend the country’s interests in outer space.”