The United States has said that the issue of space debris is an important concern and it has taken note of the Indian government's statements that its recently conducted anti-satellite missile test or ASAT was designed to address "space debris issues," according to US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino.
The US official's comments came in the wake of National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA chief Jim Bridenstine labelling India's ASAT test as "a terrible, terrible thing".
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Mr Palladino said, "The issue of space debris, that is an important concern for the United States, and I would say that we took note of the Indian Government's statements that the test was designed to address space debris issues."
He had earlier outlined, "We have a strong strategic partnership with India, and we will continue to pursue shared interests in space, in scientific and technical cooperation with India, and that includes collaboration on safety and security in space."
On the ASAT test, Mr Bridenstine had said, "It's unacceptable...That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station (ISS)."
NASA has since notified that due to India's ASAT test, the risk of small debris impact to the space station increased by 44 per cent over the period of 10 days.
India's successful anti-missile test was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation on March 27. After the US, Russia and China, India is the fourth country to have anti-satellite missile capability. An official statement from the Government of India said that the test was at a level low enough to ensure that any debris generated would fall back to Earth within weeks.
Under the Mission Shakti, a joint mission of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the anti-satellite missile test was conducted in which one of India's existing satellites operating in the lower orbit was destroyed with a missile within a matter of minutes.
The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement stated that the technological test was carried out to verify that India has the capability to safeguard its space assets.
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