Pak-Russia agrees to ‘no first placement of weapons in outer space’

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – May 23, 2019
ISLAMABAD: On the sidelines of Shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO), Pakistan and Russia signed a joint statement on “no first placement of weapons in outer space,” in Kyrgyzstani capital Bishkek, on Wednesday.

According to an official statement, the joint statement was signed between foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Pakistan and Russia share a common position on the prevention of arms race in the outer space and work collectively in various international fora towards that goal.

The signing of Wednesday’s joint statement is a reflection of convergence of views between the two sides. Pakistan and Russia have reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force in outer space activities.

Both the foreign ministers encouraged other responsible space-faring nations to follow this example. 

Outer space is being used by an increasing number of States.

Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risks of weaponisation of outer space, which threaten the long term sustainability of peaceful space activities.

The use of force against space based objects, the development and deployment of anti ballistic missile (ABM) systems and their integration into space assets have added worrying dimensions to the issues relating to outer space. 

There is an urgent need to address gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensure that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies.

Noting the significance of outer space activities as an important factor of social, economic, scientific and technological development of States, as well as their role in maintaining national and global security, Qureshi and Lavrov expressed their mutual belief that the outer space should be used in compliance with international law for the benefit of all nations, regardless of the level of their economic, scientific or technological developments. 

They reiterate their commitment to the principle enshrined in article two of the United Nations (UN) charter, “To refrain in international relations from the threat or use of force, including in outer space activities,” and proceed from the assumption that all States will strictly adhere to that policy. 

Both the leaders emphasised that the achievement of an international treaty preventing the arms race in outer space as well as banning the placement or use of weapons therein is a priority for the international community. 

They declared that they will not in any way be the first to place weapons of any kind in the outer space, that they will make all possible efforts to prevent outer space from becoming an arena for military confrontation and to ensure security in outer space activities.

Meanwhile, the SCO council of foreign ministers (CFM) meeting reviewed the documents that were being drafted for the occasion, including the main political instrument of the summit, the “Bishkek declaration,” as well as a number of resolutions on enhancing and diversifying cooperation within the SCO, including on countering new challenges and threats.

The foreign ministers of 8 member States paid special attention to enhance the effectiveness and expand the reach of the SCO regional anti-terrorist structure in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime, extremism and other challenges and threats across the SCO space.

Participants at the meeting noted the importance of stepping up economic cooperation.

They noted the potential for expanding cultural and educational ties. In particular, the participants supported and emphasised the utility of and demand for the activities carried out by the SCO university, as well as projects in healthcare, tourism, digitalisation, and high-technology in general.