Influential businessman Anand Mahindra today said the US was being hypocritical after the country's space agency NASA termed India's anti-satellite missile test or ASAT test a "terrible, terrible thing."
"A case of the pot calling the kettle black," Mr Mahindra said in a tweet, which has collected more than 7,000 likes and 2,000 retweets, till now. The test by India, in which a satellite was shot down at a low-orbit of 300 km, had created 400 pieces of debris, according to NASA. This had led to a risk for astronauts aboard the International Space Station or ISS.
After the test, India became the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to have carried out the test. The test had earlier triggered an immediate reaction from top US officials.
"We all live in space, let's not make it a mess," US' acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said, in what was seen as a mild rebuke to India. "Space is a place where people should have the freedom to operate," he added.
The US earlier said it was tracking more than 250 pieces of debris from the test. The US afterwards denied reports of spying on India.
A case of the pot calling the kettle black. From a nation that created most of the debris in space over decades, this is an audacious statement.... https://t.co/QFqCnES2gt- anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) April 2, 2019
"From a nation that created most of the debris in space over decades, this is an audacious statement," said Mr Mahindra in his tweet, reacting to NASA's comments.
Playing down US concerns, India's foreign ministry cited the low-orbit nature of the test and said the debris from the test would "decay and fall back on to the Earth within weeks."
"What we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track - we're talking about 10 centimeters or bigger - about 60 pieces have been tracked," said NASA chief Jim Bridenstine today, adding that 24 of the pieces "are going above the apogee of the International Space Station".
Mr Bridenstine also said risk of collision with the ISS has increased by 44 per cent over the past 10 days.
The US military is currently tracking 23,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters to anticipate collision risks with the ISS, news agency AFP reported.
The very nature of ASAT tests has drawn criticism from security experts, as satellite debris at high orbits does not disappear easily and hence poses risks to further space launches and other activities related to space, across the globe.
(With Inputs From AFP)