About PAROS treaty:
- PAROS stands for Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.
- It was proposed in the Conference on Disarmament to prevent an arms race in space in 1983.
- The UN General Assembly established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in 1959.
- This committee identified areas for:
- International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,
- Devised programs to be undertaken by the United Nations,
- Encouraged research on matters relating to outer space, and
- Studied legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.
- The treaty would prevent any nation from gaining a military advantage in outer space.
- It is a critical issue on the UN disarmament and arms control agenda.
- The arms race in space will destabilize regional and global strategic environment.
- The treaty is currently being discussed in the Conference on Disarmament (CD).
- USA, India, and Israel vetoed it in 2005 to keep its advantageous position in the missile defence systems.
What are the obligations as per the draft treaty?
- Under the draft treaty submitted to the CD by Russia in 2008, State Parties would commit to refrain from placing objects carrying any type of weapon into orbit, installing weapons on celestial bodies, and threatening to use force against objects in outer space.
- State Parties would also agree to practice agreed confidence-building measures.
- A PAROS treaty would complement and reaffirm the importance of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
Other such treaties to prevent the outer space from weaponization:
During the 1960s and 1970s a number of agreements were adopted to prevent the weaponization of outer space. These include:
- The Partial Test Ban Treaty, formally titled the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (1963),
- The Outer Space Treaty, formally titled the Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967),
- The Rescue Agreement, formally titled the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (1968),
- The Agreement Relating to the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization “Intelsat” (1971),
- The Liability Convention, formally titled the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (1972),
- The Launch Registration Convention, formally titled the Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (1975),
- The Moon Agreement, formally entitled the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1979).
- Although these treaties ban the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space, they do not prevent states from placing other types of weapons in space.
- As a result, many states argue that existing treaties are insufficient for safeguarding outer space as “the common heritage of mankind.”
- The UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Disarmament mandated that negotiations should take place in what is now the Conference on Disarmament (CD).
- With its large missile defence program and technical advantages in potential space weaponry, the United States has consistently refused to negotiate PAROS in the CD.