India on Wednesday became the fourth nation in the world after the United States, China and Russia to demonstrate anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite. Code-named as "Mission Shakti", an anti-satellite weapon ASAT successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO).
In a special address to the nation on the success of ‘Mission Shakti’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers.
PM Modi said that said India's action was not directed against any country. The satellite was orbiting at an altitude of 300 km, he said, describing India as a space power.
Mission Shakti, which was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, was aimed at strengthening India's overall security, he said.
Soon after his address to the nation earlier in the day to announce a successful anti-satellite missile test, he interacted with scientists involved in 'Mission Shakti' via video conference.
He told the scientists that the successful test firing of anti-satellite missile is in line with the government's 'Make in India' initiative and the scientists involved in the project have proved that India can achieve any goal.
Congratulating the scientists on their success, the PM said the entire nation is proud of the scientists for achieving what they had set out to accomplish.
Union ministers and senior BJP leaders hailed PM Modi for India's successful demonstration of anti-satellite missile capability and described it as a "surgical strike" in space.
Oppn accuses PM Modi of ‘playing politics’
The opposition mocked PM Modi accusing him of indulging on threatrics and playing politics over scientists' achievements following his address to the nation announcing successful test of an anti-satellite missile, while some parties complained to the Election Commission alleging violation of the model code.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Modi wishing him "happy World Theatre Day" even as he congratulated the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
"Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day," he said on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Modi's announcement was "limitless drama and publicity mongering", amounting to "gross violation" of the model code of conduct. She also accused the Prime Minister of making the announcement to "reap political benefits" and said her party will move the EC.
Speaking in the same vein, allies BSP and SP alleged it was a diversionary tactic while the CPI-M lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, terming the Prime Minister's action as a "violation" of the model code of conduct.
EC sets up panel to probe PM’s address on Mission Shakti
The Election Commission set up a committee under a deputy election commissioner to examine the matter related to PM Modi's address to the nation "in the light of the Model Code of Conduct" which is in force for Lok Sabha polls.
An Election Commission spokesperson said the poll panel has directed a committee of officers to "examine the matter immediately in the light of the model code of conduct".
However, sources in the poll panel said issues related to national security and disaster management do not fall under the ambit of the model code which came into force on March 10 when the ok Sabha election schedule was announced.
The sources said the decision was taken after the opposition claimed that the PM's address violated the model code as he highlighted an "achievement" of the government and the issue was not necessarily related to national security.