Prime Minister Narendra Modi 20190226
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: India on Wednesday destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that puts the country in the space "super league", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

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

"A while ago our scientists shot down a live satellite at a low-earth orbit," Modi said in a rare televised address to the nation. "This is a proud moment for India," he added.

The satellite was in orbit at 300 kilometres (185 miles).

"The pre-fixed target was destroyed by the A-SAT in just three minutes. With this, India has established itself as a space superpower.

"Mission Shakti was a difficult operation but a huge success," the Prime Minister added.

The operation involved a complicated space manoeuvre, Modi said.

Only the US, Russia and China possessed the technology until now, he added.

Saying the mission did not violate any international law, Modi said: "This is a proud moment for the country. Our scientists have made this happen.

"This new technology is not against anyone. It is only for the progress of India. We are only doing it for our safety and security.

"Our aim is to maintain peace and not develop a war-like situation," the Prime Minister said.

He had earlier tweeted that he would soon address the nation with an "important message".

Modi is known for his regular radio address to the nation called Man ki baat, but it is unusual for a Prime Minister to address the nation in the middle of the campaign, observers say. The national election is scheduled for next month and the code of conduct is in place.