India on Wednesday destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that would make the country a space superpower, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

India became the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to have carried out the feat.

In a rare televised address, just weeks before the nation goes to the polls, Modi said Indian scientists “shot down a live satellite at a low-earth orbit.”

“This is a proud moment for India,” the prime minister said, in his first televised national address since late 2016.

“India has registered its name in the list of space superpowers. Until now, only three countries had achieved this feat.”

The satellite was in orbit at 300 kilometers (185 miles) when it was destroyed.

Modi said the mission was peaceful and not designed to create “an atmosphere of war”, adding it was “not directed against any country.”

The announcement comes ahead of a national election in which Modi is seeking a second term in office.

Voting starts April 11 and will last nearly six weeks, with close to 900 million Indians eligible to vote in the world’s largest election.

Source: AFP

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