UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has expressed concern over the threats posed by anti-satellite missile tests to regional and global stability and called for steps to prevent outer space from emerging as a new realm of conflict and arms race.

Speaking in the General Assembly’s Disarmament and International Security Committee, Pakistan’s delegate Husham Ahmed drew attention to a demonstration of anti-satellite capabilities in South Asia earlier this year, obviously referring to India’s testing of an anti-satellite weapon in an operation code named ‘Mission Shakti’.

“In the absence of strong legal instruments regulating the testing, development and deployment of ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons, other States could also follow suit by demonstrating such capabilities,” he said while participating in a debate on Outer Space matters. “The potential integration of Anti Ballistic Missile systems and their components into space assets adds another worrying dimension to this matter,” Husham Ahmed, Director in Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Pakistan was firmly opposed to weaponisation of outer space, he said.  “While our dependence on outer space applications is on the rise, the risk of its weaponisation is also growing.”

The Pakistani delegate called the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to immediately commence negotiations on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) to comprehensively address the gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space, with the Chinese-Russian draft treaty being a good starting point for discussions. Outer space, the Pakistani delegate added, was “our common heritage”.