Open Skies Treaty – UPSC Prelims

  • Open Skies Treaty: The treaty was signed in 1992 and came into effect in 2002.
  • Aim: To build confidence among members through mutual openness thus reducing the chances of accidental war.
  • Key Features of the Treaty:
    • Under the treaty, a member state can spy on any part of the host nation, with the latter’s consent. A country can undertake aerial imaging over the host state after giving notice 72 hours before and sharing its exact flight path 24 hours before.
    • The information gathered such as troop movements, military exercises and missile deployments has to be shared with all member states.
    • Only approved imaging equipment is permitted on the surveillance flights and officials from the host state can also stay on board throughout the planned journey.
  • Signatories: Currently, the treaty has 34 party states. India is not a member of this treaty.
  • Treaty Implementation: The Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC), composed of representatives of all states-parties is responsible for the implementation of the Open Skies Treaty.
  • Why in News?
    • USA has withdrawn from this treaty.
    • Russia also withdrew saying that the pact had been seriously compromised by the withdrawal of the United States.
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