Plug holes in UN 'Outer Space Treaty', says former Air Chief

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (ANI): Former Air Chief S. Krishnaswamy (Air Marshal retired) on Wednesday stressed on the need to plug holes in the 'Outer Space Treaty' of the United Nations to prevent space from being used to attack targets.

"India would like to appeal to international community to see that the holes (in Outer Space Treaty) must be plugged," Krishnaswamy said, while delivering the keynote address at an international conference on 'Space, Science and Security: The Role of Regional Expert Discussion'.

"We also need a strong policing force in the UN. If somebody crosses the line, we need to bring down quickly," he told the three-day conference organised by Observer Research Foundation, Secure World Foundation, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Krishnaswamy said: "the authors of the treaty have left some gaps in the treaty. And probably with a sense of purpose. After all, law is very clever."

"Is there anyway to fill them (gaps)," he asked, adding the treaty implicitly allows certain things for military activity, including transit of nuclear weapons like ICBM and IRBM.

Speaking on the occasion, he said, according to the treaty, non-WMD, non-nuclear weapons can be used from space on targets on space or in space itself.

" The treaty also allows testing of all weapons in space and floating military bases. And also, there is no ban on anti-satellite, anti-missile weapons as the treaty says outer space is free for all nation states," Krishnaswamy said.

"We all should get together and work for peaceful use of space," he told the conference attended by delegates from the US, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and other countries.

"If something bad (from space) happens, it will be devastating. Indeed, the earth will burn off," he added.

Asserting that India is living in a very difficult environment, Krishnaswamy said the country needed a good space programme which is imaginative, special and that takes care of all our defence needs.

"I don't trust anybody. We have learnt our lessons and so, we need to defend ourselves," he said.

Former Foreign Secretary M. Rasgotra, who is presently President of ORF Centre for International Relations, said security of space lies in non-militarisation of space.

Speaking on the occasion, Rasgotra said militarization of space is a dangerous trend, and appealed to all the space countries to get together and do collective research to harness solar energy. (ANI)

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