New Delhi: Taking serious note of the ‘dramatic’ declaration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a television broadcast on March 27, declaring the “open and boisterous entry of India into the so-called 'Star Wars' club” by testing of an ASAT missile destroying a low earth orbit satellite in space, the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)
has termed the development as “ominous” for global peace efforts.
“Whatever be the actual military significance of the claimed successful test, it definitely makes the current regional and global scenarios even murkier and constitutes an assault on the ongoing global campaign for demilitarisation of the outer space,” said a CNDP statement, signed by peace campaigners Achin Vanaik, Lalita Ramdas, Jayaprakash ND, Anil Chaudhary and Sukla Sen.
Terming the United States as the “original culprit”, which was soon joined in by its “the main adversary then -- the Soviet Union, and, later, China,” the statement said the anti-satellite missile (ASAT) tests carried out by these countries and India go against the very grain of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to which all the said four States are parties to.
“The Treaty states as follows: “The States Parties to this Treaty… Recognizing the common interests of all [hu]mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space, Have agreed to the following:... (Article III) ‘State Parties to the Treaty shall carry on activities in the exploration of space and USE OF OUTER SPACE… IN THE INTEREST OF MAINTAINING INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY and promoting international cooperation and understanding.’ (Article IV) ‘State Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons… or STATION WEAPONS IN OUTER SPACE IN ANY OTHER MANNER.”
CNDP said India’s entry into the so-called 'Star Wars' club, despite self-imposed abstinence by all the other technologically advanced countries, except three, was a “wholly regrettable development, more so because ASAT weapons can in no way protect Indian satellites deployed in outer space,” adding that since ASAT weapons can only destroy an adversary’s satellites, “any use of such weapons would be a provocative act that tantamounts to declaration of war.”
“Satellites and spacecraft in outer space can be protected only through mutual agreements by all concerned. In this regard, adoption of the draft treaties on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) that are pending before the Conference on Disarmament attains added importance,” read the statement while pointing out that the only country that was opposing the adoption of PAROS and PPWT was the US.
Noting that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had termed the test firing as India's bid to prepare for "tomorrow's war", the peace activists said “such unwarranted pronouncements from cabinet ministers sound too ominous.”
Recommitting itself to further strengthening the global campaign for demilitarisation of outer space as well as complete abolition to redouble their efforts to ensure that the use of outer space is confined entirely for peaceful purposes.