UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua has called for steps to prevent the weaponisation of outer space. Janjua said this would adversely affect regional and international peace.
During a debate on outer space matters in the General Assembly’s Disarmament and International Security Committee, Januja said the potential and risk of weaponisation could not be ruled out with the ever growing use of outer space by an increasing number of states.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibited the placement of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in outer space, Janjua said while pointing out that it does not cover the placement of other types of weapons including conventional weapons.
Concerned about the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti ballistic missile defence systems and the pursuit of related advanced military technologies, Ambassador Janjua said those weapons were destabilising and could have wide reaching implications for regional and international security.
“The effects of the introduction of such systems can be destabilising for sensitive regions like South Asia” Janjua said, adding that all those concerns needed to be addressed in a legally binding treaty.
The ambassador stressed that it was essential to redouble efforts toward an agreement that addresses the development, deployment and proliferation of such systems. Janjua added that Pakistan was the co-sponsor of two draft resolutions on the prevention of an arms race in outer space and on no first placement of arms in outer space.
The Pakistani envoy pointed out that space was no longer considered an exclusive preserve of a few developed States.
“Today developing countries including my country are tapping into space technology in diverse areas ranging from meteorology and disaster management to economy and telecommunications.” she said, adding their reliance on space technology will grow further in the years to come.
“The dominance enjoyed by certain countries in outer space owing to their current technological prowess therefore cannot last forever,” Ambassador Janjua said.
She stressed that this would be the first time that developing countries will neither carry the burden of non-proliferation nor will they accept any discriminatory restrictions which hamper their peaceful pursuits in outer space.