India protests exclusion from space transparency group

Countries with limited to no space capabilities accomodated in GGE

India protests exclusion from space transparency group

India has lodged a protest at the United Nations, as it has been kept out of a group constituted by the multilateral organisation for recommending transparency and confidence-building measures required to keep outer space peaceful and prohibit its use for military purposes.

New Delhi has of late expressed its “regret” as its experts did not find a place in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities, which was constituted by the Secretary General of the United Nations pursuant to a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the world body on January 13, 2011.

Though India’s space programme has major achievements to its credit, including the latest success of ‘Mangalyan’ Mars Orbiter Mission, the UN secretariat did not include its experts in the 15-member GGE on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBM) in Outer Space Activities, but accommodated representatives of countries like Romania, Chile, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Nigeria, which have no or limited capability in space technology.

“We regret that India, a major space faring nation, was excluded from the GGE on TCBMs in Outer Space,” D B Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, recently gave vent to New Delhi’s disappointment over slighting of India.

“Despite having major capabilities in the field and having contributed actively to the GGE on Information and Telecommunications in the context of International Security in previous years, India was dropped from the GGE this year for inexplicable reasons,” Varma pointed out while taking part in a thematic debate on UN Disarmament Machinery at the General Assembly of the world body.

The representatives of P-5 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council) — China, Russia, United States, United Kingdom and France — have been included in the panel.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the UN secretariat had even ignored a request by Russian representative Victor L Vasiliev, who chaired the GGE on TCBM in outer space, to include India in the panel.

New Delhi, according to the sources, believes that “prejudices” against India could be the reason for the UN secretariat’s reluctance to include the country’s representative in the group.

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