On 27th March, India acquired ASAT capabilities. This lets India destroy enemy satellites in the lower orbit which is present within certain limits. The market of politics was high for this. Some criticised the BJP for politicising the issue while others blamed Congress for not developing such technology during their term.
But is Congress really to be blamed and should BJP be credited for this accomplishment?
Let’s first talk about the issue regarding Congress. We will have to look at the geopolitical situation which was present in the term of Congress party. If seen in particular to this regard, we can say that in 2005, we had developed the technology of the anti-ballistic missile and in 2012 we were able to fire the Agni 5 missile after which India was capable of destroying a satellite present in the lower orbital and this was also resonated in interview given by the ex-DRDO chief Dr. Saraswat to a newspaper, but there is a catch here.
If we talk about the nations which are having the capability to destroy a satellite present in the lower orbit the names are America, Russia and China. In 2007, China had developed the capability of hitting a satellite in the lower orbit but after this, it had to suffer international criticism because of China’s image. Apart from that, there were countries like India which did not have good relations with China, it was doubted that it could be used against India or any other non-friendly nations. It was seen as a threat to world peace. After that also, it is suspected that China experimented again in 2010 and 2013. The Western community had bitterly opposed this type of Chinese initiative. But even if India was under threat from China’s anti-satellite missiles, it was not favourable for India in such conditions to develop its own anti-satellite capabilities as it could have been seen by the world powers as two bombs ticking near each other, only to explode and this could have made India suffer sanctions as well.
Another catch, India became ready for such a project only in 2012 and at that time the UPA government was already in the bad books of the masses. It wasn’t too inclined towards taking such a risky project. Seen from another angle, the policy of the Congress-led governments had been of turning India into an economic power rather than a military power. All developments were more of a defensive rather than offensive nature. This was done in order to avoid any kinds of sanctions put forward by UN, US or any other powerful country which could harm the economic interests of the country and also develop an image of India as that of a peaceful nation. If India would have developed any such weapon in a period near 2013 -14, there would have been chances that tension between India and China might have increased. It could have put India in geopolitical danger.
On the other hand, if the testing of the anti-satellite missiles would have gone wrong, this would have brought India a bad name on the international platform and also the Congress party would have suffered an even bitter defeat. Ex DRDO chief VK Saraswat recently said that the past government i.e. the UPA government was not ready for such a mission and this delayed the project for a few years but various members of the Congress Party have recently said that the project was already started in the term of the UPA government but there is no hard proof which could actually tell us who is right but if it is seen along with the geopolitical situations in which India was, it seems fair even if the Congress Party or the UPA government denied such a project at that time.
Now coming to the point if BJP government should be credited for this achievement. If seen at the shallow level it looks that it was an achievement of Defence Research and Development Organisation instead of the BJP government but in the actual sense, there was a lot of importance of political will here. If the Modi government had remained on the policy of the past government this capability might have taken one more decade to develop. Actually, geopolitical situations changed over time and it became favourable under the NDA government to develop such a capability as China’s power had increased a lot and India needed better technology in order to maintain the balance of power, western powers also thought so.
Apart from this, the policy of the new government was offensive as well, rather than just being defensive and it is very much visible from the surgical strikes and the air strikes which took place in the term of this government. When a government allows military offensives, then there are a lot of chances that the country may suffer international ramifications but this government did not care much about these and stuck to its policy. This clearly shows that the commitment of this government is far better than the past one when it comes to the offensive strategies.
One might still think that it was not BJP or the NDA government who developed this technology so why should the government be given credit for it? Let’s talk about it in another way. If this project would have gone wrong, if the missile would have missed the target or if it would have hit the satellite of any other country, who would have been responsible and who would have been blamed for it? Surely it would have been the BJP government and specifically PM Modi. It was the Modi government who took a risk in giving clearance to this project and hence it’s the Modi government who also deserves credit for taking such a bold step. It is very right that Jawaharlal Nehru and his vision was behind the setting up of DRDO and ISRO but if we give all the credit to Jawaharlal Nehru for this then we are preventing any other Jawaharlal Nehru in our case who is Modi from rising up.
Finally, if we compare the policy of the Congress government and the BJP government it would be better to say that both the policies are right at their own places and comparing them would be like comparing apples and oranges. Both the governments ruled at different times, under different geopolitical situations and had different aims. As India is going to become a world power soon and the threat from Pakistan and China is even more potent, it seems to me that such a change in the policy is acceptable, affordable and should we welcomed.
If the Congress party would have tried to explain the situations present in front of the government at that time, people would not have approved. Instead, they tried to take the credit for starting the project and that’s where it didn’t go well for the Congress Party. On the other hand, Prime Minister Modi announced the new capability developed by our country and there he spoke no word which could have credited BJP or himself for this achievement. Also as of now, Election Commission has given a clean chit to PM Modi for the announcement, no controversies remain regarding this.