Mission Shakti placed India in an elite group of space powers which has capability to shoot down satellites in space. It is not just a technological leap but has similarity to Pokhran II. Both have been done with utmost secrecy. Both technologies were with India for some time. Both carried potential international sanctions and condemnations. Both needed strong political will.
Some say that Modi coming out personally and addressing the nation for a missile test shows that he is jittery and nervous about election prospects. He wanted to arrest the media narrative back from Rahul Gandhi’s NYAY. How much is it true? Well somewhere between the extremes. Before going into my reasoning in detail, I would like to say that even if Modi did it for political mileage, I welcome more such moves by every PM or CM. It is the best form of political decision as it benefits the nation. I wish every political party and future PM learns from it.
Now lets go into the truth about Modi being jittery or not. As reports are trickling in, the mission was fast-tracked six months ago, and Modi would have wanted it to be completed before the election dates were announced. That it finally took place after the Model code of conduct came into effect could be due to a lot of technical and operational reasons. I don’t think for a second that Govt. planned it to take place in last week of March for political gains. A lot of planning and lunar/solar location etc have to be taken into account. So no, I don’t believe that the test was planned to take place during the elections. Given the technical issues, it might very well have taken place in April or May also.
As to the question of ‘address to the nation’. This is more of the grey area. I am of the opinion that the address was done to take credit by Modi. It could have been avoided. But then again it was his political will that he green-lit the operation. And I am ready to give him a pass for rightly taking the credit. As I said previously, I welcome such politics.
Let me add something to think about. It seems an apt time to carry out such tests which are not taken positively by global powers – in between the elections. There is less chance of global sanctions as it could be written off as the last cry of the outgoing Govt (rather than will of the nation) and would lessen the negative impact.
From a neutral point of view, I don’t think the test was planned to happen during the election cycle for electoral gains. But yes, Modi did address the nation to arrest the news cycle. But I welcome such political decisions that benefit the country.