India becomes 4th country to shoot down a live satellite, joining space ‘super league’

NEW DELHI, India — India says it has successfully test-fired an anti-satellite weapon in an unexpected announcement just weeks before a general election.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address broadcast live Wednesday that Indian scientists had earlier destroyed a low earth orbit satellite with a missile, demonstrating India’s capacity as a “space power” alongside the U.S., Russia and China.

The announcement is Modi’s latest bid to flex India’s military muscle as his party seeks to retain power in polls beginning April 11.

After 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a February suicide bombing in disputed Kashmir, India said it retaliated with a “surgical strike” on a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

Afterward in an air skirmish, Pakistan shot down one of India’s Soviet-era fighter jets, prompting scrutiny of India’s aging military hardware.

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