UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has called for intensified efforts to prevent weaponisation of outer-space to avert a "grave danger" to international peace and security.

Speaking in the General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, the permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva, said that the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems and their integration into space assets had added a worrying dimension to the outer space-related issues.

"It is therefore an urgent imperative for the international community to preclude the possibility of weaponising outer space, now," she said during a debate on Outer Space matters. Space was no longer considered an exclusive preserve of a few developed States, the Pakistani envoy said. "Today developing countries are tapping into space technology in diverse areas ranging from meteorology and disaster management to economy and telecommunications," she said, adding, "Their reliance on space technology will grow further in the years to come.

"But this time, the developing countries will neither carry the burden of non-proliferation, nor will they accept any discriminatory restrictions which hamper their peaceful pursuits in outer space. The only answer is equal responsibility."

At the same time, Ambassador Janjua said there was a growing use of outer space by many States, both for civilian and military purposes, enhancing the potential and risk of its weaponisation. The international community should avoid the mistakes made in the case of chemical weapons and preclude the possibility of weaponising outer space, she told delegates.

In that regard, it must ask for a clear expression of the underlying reasons that obliged certain States to oppose negotiations on a proposed treaty on preventing an arms race in outer space. Those States should acknowledge their responsibility in perpetuating the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament (D). "We have not heard a convincing case from these States as to how negotiations on prevention of arms race in outer space would negatively affect their security interests," the Pakistani envoy said. In any case, she said, these states should acknowledge their responsibility in perpetuating the CD’s deadlock.