Did PM violate model code of conduct by announcing Mission Shakti's success?

With Mission Shakti India has become the fourth country in the world, after the US, Russia and China, to have anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon capabilities

GN Bureau | April 1, 2019


#anti satellite   #ASAT   #ISRO   #BJP   #Narendra Modi   #Mission Shakti  
Prime minister Narendra Modi
Prime minister Narendra Modi

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The announcement is related to ‘national security’, hence it does not violate the model code of conduct. Mission Shakti is undoubtedly a big achievement for the country as India has become the fourth country in the world, after the US, Russia and China, to have anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon capabilities. The country’s entry into the elite space club should be celebrated and cynicism should be left out. It’s a big feat for our scientists. Also, there is a precedent: in 1998 PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in a press briefing announced the successful Pokhran nuclear missile tests, just before the assembly elections. That was not considered a violation of the model code of conduct. By the same logic, the latest announcement too should be greeted without raising unnecessary controversy. 

Counterview

From Congress president Rahul Gandhi to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, the opposition is questioning the timing of the announcement and rightly so. The Election Commission has also set up a committee to examine the nature of the PM’s announcement. The opposition argues that as this is a big achievement of the country and its scientists, then the announcement should have come from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials. The scientists should receive their due credit, instead of Modi and BJP hogging the limelight. The announcement means that the PM and BJP have got a considerable coverage in the media and therefore it would benefit the ruling party in the upcoming election. The timing of the announcement overshadows the country’s technological prowess and makes politics centrestage. There are even reports that PM Modi didn’t even consult the Election Commission before going ahead with the announcement.

 (The opinion appears in April 15, 2019 edition)

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