ll process started after 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved it, Arun Jaitley said.
New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday slammed Congress for claiming that the process to develop anti-satellite (ASAT) missile began during previous UPA government, saying that Manmohan Singh government had refused to give permission for the testing of its capability.
"All process started after 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved it," the Union Minister said terming today's test of ASAT missile as "monumental" and "historic" day for the country.
"Our scientists wanted this (test to be conducted) earlier too. They had even said that we have this capability but Government of India is not allowing us and that is why we are not able to develop it," Jaitley said addressing a press conference here.
He cited media reports published on April 21, 2012 to enforce his point that previous governments withheld permission for this test to be conducted.
"The Congress leader patting their backs should remember that VK Saraswat (then DRDO chief) said we now have the capacity to develop an anti-satellite missile but the government has not permitted us to do so," said the Union Minister who is also a member of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
"Those who are wrongly patting themselves for their failures should remember that footprints of their lies do get exposed. Our scientists were ready for this since last decade but previous governments didn't have the clarity to approve it," he added.
Taking a dig at other opposition leaders for suggesting that this could have happened after the elections, the Union Minister said, "The lower they go, the stronger we emerge and as far as the issue of EC is concerned, let me say that India's nuclear programme is a continuous process. It cannot be put to halt if it does not suit the West Bengal Chief Minister."
"When finger points at the moon, the idiot always points to the finger," he said slamming the Opposition for raising "clerical objections".
Jaitley said the Opposition has lost one more chance to "correct" its mistakes when they questioned the Centre over the Pulwama terror attack and Balakot air strike.
"Can anybody argue that this sensitive programme (ASAT missile) should have been known to anyone else other than those in command? It is regrettable that elementary lessons of national security are not known to my friends in the opposition," the Union Minister said while rejecting allegations that BJP was politicising the test.
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all the scientists and labs involved in the mission, Finance Minister said, "It is a historic day for our nation and especially for our scientists because they have achieved a capability which was earlier only with three countries. The Prime Minister also deserves compliments for this. He is advancing the country's security doctrine."
Commenting on the geo-strategic conditions, he said, "India is a peace-loving country. Just like our nuclear capability, this too is a deterrent capability. We have become the fourth country to achieve this capability. With this capability, we are able to compel others to keep peace in the region."
"We are in the geopolitical situation where our preparedness is our deterrent and security. Everything was made in the country and researched here. We must remember that tomorrow's wars will not be the same as yesterday's wars," the Union Minister added.
Asked as to why the Prime Minister did the announcement, he said, "Deterrents has to be known to all concerned and for a deterrent of this kind, there is no better person than the Prime Minister to inform the world about it".
Jaitley said, "This country should remain prepared for cyber and space wars." The world was aware of India being a responsible nuclear power, he underlined.
The Minister also assured that the debris due to the test will be cleared within three weeks.