Pakistan expresses concern over Indian Space Weapons Test

Published: April 3, 2019

Pakistan has expressed deep concern over the Indian test of an anti-satellite weapon and its possible impact on other space installations like the International Space Station. It was on March 27, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India has successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test, by being able to destroy one of its own satellites in low-orbit around Earth by making use of a modified ballistic missile.

The Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “This anti-satellite weapon test should be a matter of grave concern for the international community, not only in terms of generation of space debris but also because of its ramifications for long-term sustainability of peaceful space activities”. Indian Prime Minister had earlier said that the test is a sign that India has arrived as a space power.

Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA said on Monday that the test has given rise to 400 pieces of orbital debris that could damage International Space Station and other satellites. He said that it is a terrible thing to have created debris in an apogee which goes above the ISS. He also added that this activity is not compatible with the future of human flight to space. As per the calculations of NASA, it has been said that the India’s ASAT test has increased the likelihood of the debris hitting the ISS by about 44 percent in 10 days, with precisely 24 pieces of the 60 pieces currently tracking above the apogee of the ISS. Indian foreign ministry stated that the test has been done in the lower atmosphere for ensuring that there is no space debris and whatever debris has been generated will eventually fall back to the earth within weeks.

Pakistan has also raised concerns that the test was detrimental for keeping the space peaceful. It mentioned, “Pakistan remains a strong proponent of non-militarisation of outer space. We will continue to work with like-minded countries to address gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensuring that no one threatens the peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development.”

There are no international binding agreements on the use of weapons in space. Even the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, to which both India and Pakistan are signatories, prohibits the use of weapons of mass destruction in space but it does not restrict the use of conventional weapons.

 

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