Anti Satellite Missile Testing: Challenge to Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty
Sandeepa Bhat & Kiran Mohan V.*
Volume 2 Issue 2 (2009)
Although Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty (OST) prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons and any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction in the outer space, owing to serious drafting faults and interpretative conundrums, ground-based Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missiles have been left out of its purview. The failure of the states to adopt an agreed definition of ‘peaceful uses’, stipulated under Article IV, has left scope for attributing the colour of legitimacy to ASAT missile testing. This being the situation, the present paper ponders into the question of legality of testing and deployment of ASAT missiles under the present legal framework. It highlights loopholes in Article IV of the OST, which aid states to transgress the barriers of international law. An exclusive treaty to control or prohibit anti-satellite weapons is a far fetched dream given the nonexistence of such political will among concerned nations. This is evident from United States ‘rejection of the proposal of Russia and China for a new treaty regarding this. Hence the paper suggests plausible solutions to this quandary from within existing international legal framework.