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OEWG on Space 2022
Home    >   OEWG on Space 2022   >  STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANUPAM RAY AT THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY OPEN ENDED WORKING GROUP ON SPACE THREATS – GENEVA, August 28, 2023

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANUPAM RAY AT THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY OPEN ENDED WORKING GROUP ON SPACE THREATS – GENEVA, August 28, 2023

Mr. President,
Thank you for giving me the floor.

Let me begin by acknowledging your work, and that of your team, in steering this process.

My delegation assures you of its support.

Mr. President,
India appreciates your inter-sessional consultations and the circulation of your proposal as a basis forthe draft report.

The draft report, in its current shape, is ambitious, andrequiresfurther substantive discussion if we are to have a consensus outcome.

Mr. President,

India is a space-faring nation.  We have a well-developed space programme with development and security dimensions.

An Indian spacecraft landed on the moon last week. An Indian rover, even as we meet, is exploringthe moon.

I would like to take this opportunity to convey to this Group that India believes that Outer Space belongs to all of us. We are one earth, one family, and have one future.

We reach for the moon, and beyond, in peace. We wish nothing but peace to those who travel with us and for those who will come after us.

Mr. President,
India’s views on the OEWG process are recorded in the Explanation of Vote to the UNGA Resolution 76/231.

India has nevertheless participated in the process constructively.

Mr. President,
The elements of our position have been repeated at every session of the OEWG.

India believes that priority should be accorded to developing uniform interpretations and understandings of the provisions of the existing legal treaties relating to Outer Space. This includes developing common understandings of terms such as ‘due regard’, ‘harmful interference’, ‘peaceful purposes’, among others. These must be developed in appropriate platforms, including this. We believe that increased clarity on existing international legal framework will contribute to reducing misperceptions or misinterpretations in Outer Space.

We would like to reiterate our preference for a legally binding instrument on Preventing Arms Race in Outer Space.

India is open to the development of universal and non-discriminatory non-binding norms and transparency and confidence building measures, as they can be complementary to a legally binding instrument.We believe, however, that they are not a substitute for legallybinding instruments.

India has concerns about subjectivity in the assessment and interpretation of space behaviors and perception of threats. We are concerned as to who makes these assessments; about how these assessments are made; and about the application of such determinations.

India has concerns about the verification of space behavior using current technology and the access to relevant information and data.

My delegation believes that threats to safety, security and sustainability of outer space must be considered comprehensively. A selective focus on certain space threats, over others, may impact the process of developing consensus.

Our discussions under this body mustconsider the substantial body of work and discussions that have taken place on enhancing Outer Space safety, security, and sustainability in relevant forums. In this context, we believe that mandates of various fora must be respected; overlaps and the creation of multiple standards on the same set of issues should be avoided.

India, as a developing country, believes that the outcomes of any space security related process, including in this OEWG, should not discourage the exchange of scientific and technological research and development for peaceful and legitimate purposes.

Mr. President,

My delegation has sent a number of language proposals that reflect some of our major concerns.

We acknowledge, with appreciation, that several of these find mention in your draft report.

Mr. President,

You have a very difficult job. This Working Group deals with very important issues in a rapidly changing technological and scientific landscape. Major differences in opinion exist.

This is a Working Group of the General Assembly and its report must accurately reflect the consensus view where there is one. It must also reflect the diversity of sentiments and views where there is none.

Mr. President,

My delegation will continue to participate in a constructive spirit.  In that spirit, we request that some of our concerns on matters of importance to our delegation, that we do not see in your draft, and which we have consistently articulated, be included.

My delegation believes that the link between safety and sustainability of Outer Space on one hand and security on the other is not clearly established. This is a matter that requires further discussion.

My delegation also has specific concerns about the language concerning the categorization of certain acts, including but not limited to, Direct Ascent ASAT testing. As a major space-faring nation, India is affected by debris in Outer Space. We have proposed specific language which we believe records our concerns and brings balance to the report.

Mr. President,

We have a number of other concerns which we will articulate during the course of discussions.

Let me conclude by reiterating our fullest support to you and our desire to engage constructively and substantively in these proceedings.

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