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Pentagon defends India's ASAT, says country concerned over space threats

On March 27, India achieved a historic feat by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a space power.

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

is concerned about the "threats" it faces in space, the has said, defending the country for acquiring anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test capabilities.

On March 27, achieved a historic feat by shooting down its own with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a space power.

The test made the fourth country in the world after the US, and to have the capabilities.

"The first lesson from the Indian is just the simple question of why did they do that. And the answer should be, I think to all the committee looking at it, is that they did that because they are concerned about threats to their nation from space," Strategic Command General told members of the powerful Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

"And therefore, they feel they have to have a capability to defend themselves in space," Hyten told Armed Services Committee while responding to a question from Senators on the need for India to do anti-satellite missile test, and the debris it generated in the space.

After India's test, NASA termed as a "terrible thing" the country's shooting down of one of its satellites, saying it created about 400 pieces of orbital debris, endangering the the (ISS).

NASA had said about 60 pieces were tracked and out of which 24 are going above the apogee of the ISS.

Hyten advocated for the development of some kind of international norms of behaviour in space.

"And where those norms of behaviour should begin, from my opinion, is with debris, because as the combatant responsible for space today, I don't want more debris," said the top

Raising the issue, Senator said India announced last month that it had successfully conducted a test of an

"So, they had something in low earth orbit. They used an to down, and it resulted in - the estimate's right now 400 pieces of debris, 24 which are large enough to potentially pose a threat to the International Space Station," he said.

"There have been other instances like this. There was a Chinese - a similar effort in 2007 that led to the catalogued 100,000 pieces of debris, many of which are still observing in debris fields that pose danger to other assets in space," he said.

There was a collision in '09 between a working satellite and a sort of defunct Soviet that -kind of a fender bender that produced debris. Then this debris causes challenges, he added.

"If we think that space is going to be more of a traffic jam, more for all kinds of purposes up there, what should we be thinking about as a in this committee or in Foreign Relations about sort of the rules?" he asked.

"What should the rules environment be, and what should we be doing to try to promote rules? India is an ally. We're not talking about an adversary doing something. We're talking about them testing some capacity, but then that creates challenges for all kinds of uses of space. How should we be solving problems like that?" Kaine asked.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 07:10 IST