Former chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation and current member of the NITI Aayog, V K Saraswat, ruled out any “political motive” to the announcement of the success of Mission Shakti by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the elections and said, “DRDO works as per mission time schedule which is in the hands of scientists and not the Prime Minister.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Saraswat said, “We should not assert political motive to Mission Shakti. It has given India an advantage in four dimensions of warfare which includes land, air, underwater and now space. It will have similar deterrence as nuclear tests on the enemy countries.”
Saraswat also blamed the earlier (UPA) government for the delay and said he had announced in 2012 that India had the capability in 2012, at the time of the successful launch of Agni V, but the then government didn’t approve it. “We made presentations to the National Security Advisor (NSA), the National Security Council. When such discussions were held, they were heard by all concerned. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a positive response, so we didn’t go ahead,” he told The Indian Express.
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He added, “When the proposal was put up by Dr Satheesh Reddy and NSA Ajit Doval to PM Modi, he had the courage and based on that, he gave a go-ahead. If the clearances were given in 2012-13, I am quite certain that the launch would have happened in 2014-15. We had the building block and would have completed the mission in two years, once granted permission. Unfortunately, the resources were not allocated (then).”
Quoting former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Saraswat said, “Technology is strength and strength respects strength. If you are strong, other countries will respect you. If we had become stronger five years back, no country would have dared to treat us like they did (then). If this was done in 2014-15, India would have acquired anti-satellite weapons and deterrence for space warfare, it would have been a big achievement and had given diplomatic advantage to the country.”
Asked if India violated any international treaty by carrying out this mission, Saraswat said, “India has not violated any treaty as far as weaponisation of space is concerned. Mission Shakti was only a technological demonstration. We will not be required to repeat these tests as the purpose has been achieved successfully.”