by Indrani Bagchi

NEW DELHI: When there is global momentum to develop a rules-based order to govern the sphere of weaponisation of space, India will be at the rules-making table, thanks to the demonstration of its capability to execute a kinetic kill of a satellite in space. 

At the very moment that India announced its anti-satellite test, experts are gathered in Geneva to draft a UN document on PAROS — Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space. Rajeshwari Rajagopalan, senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation think tank and one of the global experts at the meeting, said it was important for India to demonstrate its capability rather than just claim capability.

“There is no global move just yet, but it could be a matter of time. And when it does happen, India will not be out of the room as had happened when the nuclear order was bring written,” she said. India was not considered a nuclear weapons state because it did not test before January 1968.

Apart from the fact that India’s test on Wednesday was deemed more “responsible” than China’s 2007 satellite kill — because the “hit-to-kill” was executed at an altitude of below 300 km — the issue of space debris will not be as much a concern as it was for China’s 800-km strike.

Sources said the Indian test was akin to the 2008 test of the US, when a ballistic missile was used to destroy a spy satellite at a distance below 300 km. In recent years, Russia too has been investing heavily in anti-satellite weapons.