Arun Jaitley calls Mission Shakti 'huge achievement' for India, accuses UPA of not giving go-ahead for A-SAT project

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday slammed the Congress for claiming to have initiated the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) anti-satellite project during the UPA-II regime, accusing the erstwhile UPA regime of not giving a go-ahead for the A-SAT project despite the DRDO having the capability to launch such an operation.

Jaitley addressed a press after the DRDO successfully tested an A-SAT weapon under Mission Shakti. Slamming the Congress for delaying the process, Jaitley said: "Scientists said the capability for ASAT was always there but the then (UPA) Government of India did not permit us to build it. I want to remind some of my friends from the Congress, that when Agni V was launched, the DRDO had said that they have the capability to develop an A-SAT missile."

 Arun Jaitley calls Mission Shakti huge achievement for India, accuses UPA of not giving go-ahead for A-SAT project

File photo of Arun Jaitley. Reuters

Explaining that the process of developing the A-SAT weapon actually started in 2014, Jaitley lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving the permission to pursue the project. "It's a huge achievement, not only have we have become space power but we are now among the elite space club. We should not forget that tomorrow's wars will not be the same as yesterday's wars," the finance minister said.

Jaitley also praised the prime minister for having a "vision for tomorrow".

"Narendra Modi has always thought about developing the country, be it in terms of security or technology. It shows India is in safe hands," he said.

Responding to the sharp reaction from the Opposition on the timing of the A-SAT operation, Jaitley said: "The nuclear programme goes on for 365 days irrespective of the fact if there is an election or not."

Earlier on Wednesday, Modi announced that India has demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers.

"In the journey of every nation, there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today," he said, addressing the nation on television, radio and social media.

He also congratulated all the scientists of the DRDO who successfully tested the anti-satellite weapon into space.

Calling this a "historic breakthrough," Modi said that security too will receive a major fillip from this operation. "The technological innovation will benefit the 300 crore people of India, it will ensure their peace," he said.

Updated Date: Mar 27, 2019 16:00:32 IST