In the biggest and most explosive interview ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on an array of issues pertaining to the ensuing 2019 elections, national security, and India's global presence. As part of the interview, Prime Minister Modi aired his views on the aftermath of what is seen as one of India's biggest recent achievements - his Wednesday announcement that India had demonstrated anti-satellite (ASAT) missile capability by shooting down a live satellite in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), which put India in an exclusive club of space super powers. With the successful completion of the Operation named as 'Mission Shakti', India became the fourth country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability after the US, Russia and China.
On being asked about the Opposition questioning the timing of the massive announcement made only days ahead of the election, the Prime Minister gave a response that will be heard loud and clear:
"In the opposition, when juniors make mistakes...mistakes do happen but the Congress party, which was in government for a long time and they've had esteemed leaders who've taken care of different functions of the government, they should've at least consulted their people and asked what is this about? What is Modi talking about? I think, the basic knowledge that is needed, there seems to be a lack of it in their statements. The second thing, call it an adventure or an initiative, they don't happen suddenly. You need to tell the global community that you want space at a particular time in space to ensure there's no space traffic or collision, you need to ask for an open space, you need to fix that space. It's a long process," PM Modi said while responding to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
Further on being questioned on Opposition's attacks asking why the announcement was made ahead of campaigning when it was a pre-planned event, PM Modi said:
"When you get time as per the global community's convenience, you need to utilise your time in that period. For us, this was the time allotted. This is not a thing that you think about and then execute and then some problem arises. It doesn't happen that way. These things have to be done as soon as possible."
On Wednesday, several Opposition leaders including Trinamool party chief Mamata Banerjee and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had attempted to malign the achievement, calling it election drama.