ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it has always stood for the non-militarization of space after India claimed it had destroyed a satellite to demonstrate its growing strategic military power.
A spokesperson for the ministry stressed that the Asian country was against weaponizing what he called the common heritage of mankind, adding that every nation had the responsibility to avoid actions that could lead to the militarization of space.
“Pakistan has been a strong proponent of preventing an arms race in outer space,” the spokesperson said in reaction to the recent announcement by his country’s main geopolitical foe.
“We believe that there is a need to address gaps in the international space laws with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development,” he added.
The spokesperson said that the countries that have in the past condemned demonstrations of similar capabilities by others “will be prepared to work towards developing international instruments to prevent military threats relating to outer space.”
Without naming India, the spokesperson said that boasting of such capabilities was “reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills,” a reference to the iconic protagonist of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century masterpiece whose main character trait is suffering from a persistent delusional disorder.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed earlier on Wednesday that his military had successfully tested a space missile system by striking a Low Earth Orbit satellite, an act that he said propelled India as a space power – two weeks ahead of the country’s upcoming general elections.
“India has marked its name as an elite space power. An anti-satellite weapon, or A-SAT, successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit,” Modi said in a sudden televised address.
“Some time back, our scientists struck down LEO or the Low Earth Orbit satellite,” Modi said.
This space weapon system is designed to destroy satellites for strategic military purposes and gives the country that possesses it a command over space-based assets with an ability to jam enemy satellites or destroy them in times of war.
Modi said that with the successful test, India has become the fourth space power with such capability, following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia and China.
India is set to hold staggered general elections beginning on April 11, with results to be announced on May 23.
Modi is seeking a second term even as his administration has been drawing flak over rising unemployment, an ongoing agricultural crisis and a sluggish economy.