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  • Breaking from the Past: A new Approach to Space Security

    Paper number



    Mr. Kiran Nair, Indian Air Force, India



    The theory of perspectivism states that knowledge of a subject is inevitably partial and limited by the individual perspective from which it is viewed. The theory applies in no small measure to perceptions of security (or insecurity) in outer space. Feelings of insecurity in space have largely been based on perceptions of one’s own vulnerabilities in, and from space. The perceptions are also distinct in case of most nations leaving little scope for mutual redressal of individual insecurities. For example, the US’s national perception of space security in a military context would differ from that of Russia or China and vice versa. At the same time, certain common hazards which add to the insecurity index in space are common to all irrespective of individual inclinations. These factors are no less potent than military factors, are getting increasingly hazardous and yet relatively lesser effort has gone into mitigating the insecurities on account of them. Secondly, unlike in case of national military perceptions on security which differ grossly, leaving lesser scope for agreements, there does exist a widely shared desire for elimination of common environmental and other insecurities in space. This paper attempts to highlight the same and advocates an additional and more intense refocus on aspects related to common vulnerabilities in line with the changed (and changing) dynamics of space security . This paper attempts to push the issue ahead without any drastic changes in Article-4 of the OST, since changes in Art-4 are by itself a time consuming venture and the need of the hour is to arrive at some kind of agreement emergently in view of the increased instances of space weaponisation. 
    The above, may appear to be the easier recourse and perhaps is so. The more difficult issue of eliminating insecurities in space due to national military activities has been deliberated upon innumerable times in the last few decades without much headway. In the absence of any significant break through in the above impasse, alternatives have to be explored. More so, because of the simple reason that there appear to be greater chances of a break-through in the easier alternatives and because the non-military hazards also have a much increased potency today for causing insecurities in space. Lastly, headway in the non-military aspects of space security might in the future open the gates to ending the impasse in the military aspect.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document