By Sushil kutty
A-Sat is strategic weapon. Missile to blast to smithereens enemy satellites. Spies in outer-space. Sending inputs, pics and what not, to enemy planning God knows what. A-Sat is election weapon. The day after, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath kept hammering ‘Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai’ at a Modi rally. Space is Modi’s last frontier. Modi himself spoke of opposition angry with ‘Antriksh Ke Chowkidar.’
India is fourth country with A-Sat technology and capability to strike down enemy satellites from the ground up. China, when it joined the club in 2007, was criticized for endangering and environmentally compromising outer space. India’s March 27 accomplishment drew no such response.
India’s scientists overcame ‘technical, global and space restraints’, cast aside all apprehensions and knocked out a low earth orbit Indian satellite circling the earth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it to the nation after a morning tweet, which put media on the brink, wondering aloud, “What will the Prime Minister announce in his address to the nation?”
Did Modi breach the Model Code of Conduct? The elections are announced and polling begins in a couple of weeks. A complaint has gone to the Election Commission of India. Officers of the commission will examine the PM’s announcement, which lasted a full 10 minutes. The question: Should the PM not have left it to the DRDO to announce the landmark accomplishment of the scientific community?
A-Sat missile capability was available in 2012. But the then government of the day did not order strike. Somebody at the helm should take a political decision. Somebody with political gumption. And such a decision is not taken on the eve of the event. It’s decided well in advance. In this instance, a satellite was launched on low earth orbit in January this year. The satellite was set up for the kill! Poor dude.
That said, couldn’t have Modi sat on the A-Sat accomplishment instead of holding the country in artful suspense for a full two hours, allowing all sorts of speculation, from another ill-thought demonetization to another across the border air-strike.
TV anchors went berserk, cutting all sorts of deals with surmise and conjecture. The model Code of Conduct came in for a thorough dissection like a frog in a lab. Twitter went off the bend. It was crazy. If Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Nyay’ was disruption, this was mad – mutually assured disruption.
True, the cabinet committee on security can meet at any time; even on a day of election. And the Prime Minister has the right and authority to announce a decision taken. But should he have, morally and ethically? The ball is in the Election Commission’s court.
The whole purpose of the A-Sat strike appears to keep alive the BJP’s ‘national security’ election issue, which got dented hard when Rahul Gandhi threw ‘Nyay’ into the ring and set up a fight on ‘asli issues’, not manufactured ones based on hollow slogans, like ‘Acche Din Ayenge’.
Modi has nothing left but ‘national security’ to talk about to seek another term. It’s too late in the day to look for, manufacture another election issue. And the BJP has no option other than to give credit to everything muscular done to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s not just Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alone who harks back to tough Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ‘The Durga’.
Indira Gandhi announced the Pokhran test with the words, “Buddha Smiled!” But it was not on the eve of a general elections. And the Model Code of conduct then was not as tough as it is these days. India’s A-Sat is a tough bird, with the beak of an eagle and the talons of a falcon. Now, to see if the Election commission has teeth. Amen.(IPA Service)