Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test that put the country in a league of global "space powers."
In a national address Wednesday, Modi said India had achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its own low orbit satellite with a missile in just three minutes.
Only three other countries: US, Russia and China have the capabilities to use such an anti-satellite missile.
India’s space program has grown substantially over the past decade. In 2014, India put a satellite into orbit around Mars and the Indian Space Research Organization has announced that it will send a manned mission into space in the next three years.
Modi said the operation, called Mission Shakti – which stands for "power" in Hindi – would defend the country’s interests in space. The country's foreign ministry said that India had "no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space."
Though Modi said Wednesday's test was for India's defense and security, it is likely to be seen as provocative by Pakistan and China.
In response, a spokesperson for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said "boasting of such capabilities is reminiscent of Don Quixote’s tilting against windmills," meaning to fight imaginary enemies.
"Space is the common heritage of mankind and every nation has the responsibility to avoid actions which can lead to the militarization of this arena," the statement said.
Opposition leaders dismissed the announcement as a publicity stunt.
Akhilesh Yadav, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and one of Modi’s severest critics said, Modi's announcement "got himself an hour of free TV" and "divert nation’s attention away from issues on ground."
India’s feat comes after repeated warnings against China’s growing space military capabilities.
A report released last year by the Pentagon detailed that Russia and China are developing capabilities including “laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage satellites and their sensors."
The growth of China's space capabilities and the need to help safeguard US satellites have been cited by the Trump administration as a reason why the US needs a Space Force.