Drone strikes: Targeted killings raise troubling questions

Source: The post is based on an article Drone strikes: Targeted killings raise troubling questions” published in The Business Standard on 25th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and technology and their effects on everyday life

News: Increasing range and unrestricted use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), is a matter of global concern.

What are Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)?

Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) are fully machine-systems controlled and depend on facial recognition and artificial intelligence.

Such drones operate only on the basis of ex-ante data inputs about the target and are independent of human discretion in carrying out a strike.

Examples of the use of cross-border drones: 1) The US government announced on August 1 that the Egyptian surgeon Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by them in a drone strike in Kabul. 2) More than two years ago, on January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani an Iranian major general was killed at Baghdad airport by a Reaper drone strike launched by the US.

Which countries have developed such drones?

Along with the US, a Turkish government-promoted company called Savunma Teknolojileri Muhendislik (STM) produces a drone named Kargu-2, which can be operated manually and autonomously.

India is behind Turkey and even lagging Iran in the context of drones and these types of drones pose a threat to the national security of India.

What are the concerns with Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)?

First, there is no international convention limiting or providing a context for the use of such weapons.

Second, there is no publicly available information about the reliability of LAWS.

Third, the concerns with the development of drones are the increasing range, automation, and possibly deniability of origin.

Fourth, The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for rules to regulate and limit the use of LAWS.

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