PARIS ? India has begun development of lasers and an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle that could be combined to produce a weapon to destroy enemy satellites in orbit, the director-general of India?s defense research organization said Jan. 3.

?The kill vehicle, which is needed for intercepting the satellite, needs to be developed, and that work is going on as part of the ballistic missile defense program,? said V.K. Saraswat, director-general of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which is part of India?s Ministry of Defence.

In a televised press briefing during the 97th Indian Science Congress in Thiruvananthapuram, Saraswat said the program includes the development of lasers ?which will be able to give you a concrete picture of the satellite, and use that picture to guide your kill vehicle towards that. That work has yet to be done.?

India is not the first country to announce plans for anti-satellite spacecraft. In 2007, China intentionally destroyed an old weather satellite during an anti-satellite demonstration that created a swarm of orbital debris above Earth.

The United States also successfully destroyed a crippled spy satellite in 2008 with an SM-3 missile launched from a Navy ship. That satellite kill was ordered to destroy the falling satellite to avoid toxic debris from raining down on parts of the U.S., military officials said.