New Delhi: 

The government does not need to take permission from the Election Commission for announcing matters related to national security during poll season even when the code of conduct is in force, sources in the election watchdog told NDTV today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a national address, said India has successfully shot down a live satellite in low-Earth orbit.

“This is a big moment for India. Something that all of us should be proud of. We are not just capable to defend on land, water and air, but now also in space. I congratulate all scientists who have made this possible and made India a much stronger nation,” PM Modi said in a televised address.

An anti-satellite weapon system or ASAT can severely cripple enemy communications and reconnaissance systems during war, and blind the entire military of an enemy force.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari congratulated the scientists and the people of the country on the success of Mission Shakti. “We have shot down a low-orbit satellite, which means the nation is prepared to face threat of any kind,” he said.

The opposition said it was the UPA government that started the ASAT programme, which finally gave results now. “The UPA government had initiated the ASAT program which has reached fruition today. I congratulate our space scientists and the visionary leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh,” Congress parliamentarian Ahmed Patel tweeted.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav added a political hue to the PM’s announcement. “Today Narendra Modi got himself an hour of free TV and divert nation’s attention away from issues on ground – unemployment, rural crisis and women’s security by pointing at the sky. Congratulations DRDO and ISRO, this success belongs to you. Thank you for making India safer,” Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.

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