A call for India to exit the Moon Treaty


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The new colonial movement: An op-ed in India today called for that nation to exit the anti-capitalist 1979 Moon Treaty, different than the 1967 Outer Space Treaty in that it specifically outlaws all private ownership in space and was thus only signed by a very small handful of nations.

India has signed but never ratified the Moon Treaty. The U.S., Russia, and China never did.

India must formally exit this agreement, says Dr Chaitanya Giri, a Gateway House Fellow of Space and Ocean Studies Programme, who was earlier affiliated to the Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institution for Science.

The problem with the Moon Agreement, Dr Giri told BusinessLine, lies in the Article 4.1, which says that “the exploration and use of the Moon shall be the province of all mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic and scientific development.”

This can be interpreted to mean that if you are a signatory to the agreement, you shall share the fruits of your efforts on the Moon with everybody, whereas if you are not a signatory you won’t have to do so.

The article also notes that, under Trump’s Artemis Accords and executive order allowing for private ownership of any resources extracted in space, India will not be able to partner with the U.S. as long as it remains a signatory to the 1979 Moon Treaty.

That there are now demands in India to leave the Moon Treaty so it can work with the U.S. under Trump’s Artemis Accords also means that those accords are working to convince nations to abandon the Outer Space Treaty’s restrictions on owning land and claiming sovereignty. And they are doing so very quickly.

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One comment

  • Dick Eagleson

    Splendid news. I hope India initiates an exit from the Moon Treaty quite soon. It would be one more step in abandoning its failed socialist past. Ideally, we should replace Russia as a Gateway and Artemis affiliate with India once it has left the Moon Treaty and signed an Artemis Accords agreement.

    The U.S. should also be pressing Australia and all members of NATO to leave the Moon Treaty. The Moon Treaty needs to be buried and buried deep.

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