India cautions over the threat of misuse of biological weapons

In the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, India has issued a warning about the “heightened” threat of biological and chemical weapons misuse and has urged the international community to address the rapid evolution of proliferation concerns.

According to the report, new and developing technologies may raise the possibility of terrorist groups and other non-state actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Non-state actors having access to Biological weapons would destructive

“Terrorists and other non-state actors having access to these weapons of mass destruction add a critical dimension to the threats these weapons pose to international peace and security,” A. Amarnath, a counselor at India’s UN Mission, said on May 31.

He stated the rapid evolution of proliferation dangers is a crucial topic that needs the international community’s attention, speaking at the UN Security Council 1540 Committee open consultations on the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

“New and emerging technologies may enhance the risks of terrorist groups and other non-state actors gaining access to WMD.” Terrorists and other non-state groups’ increasing ability to gain access to delivery systems such as missiles and unmanned/uncrewed aerial systems has increased the dangers of terrorism utilizing WMDs.

India cautioned about the threat of a biological weapon

“Similarly, in the COVID era, the threat of biological agents and chemicals being used as weapons has grown in tandem with developments in chemistry and biology. The open consultations would be a good place to talk about these concerns and how the Committee might help member states,” he said.

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, central China, and quickly spread to become a pandemic. According to Johns Hopkins University, approximately 53,00,22,000 instances of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, with the disease claiming the lives of over 62,92,000 persons. He emphasized that India places a high value on the implementation of Resolution 1540.

Mr. Amarnath remarked, “With our longtime commitment to global nonproliferation, we have developed a robust law-based, national framework to carry out the principles of Resolution 1540.”

Recognizing the importance of industry, academia, and other key stakeholders in assisting States in implementing Resolution 1540, he stated that India has been holding outreach activities involving these groups at both the national and regional levels.

“We also support the 1540 Committee’s increased cooperation and coordination with international organizations like the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), other relevant UN bodies like UNODA (United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs), and this Council’s counter-terrorism Committees in order to prevent non-state actors from acquiring WMDs.”

India supports UNSC Resolution 1540 designates terrorists and terrorist organizations

According to Mr. Amarnath, UNSC Resolution 1540 designates terrorists and terrorist organizations as major non-state actors capable of acquiring, developing, trafficking in, or employing weapons of mass destruction and associated delivery systems. “This fear of terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction is not theoretical,” according to the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh’s latest findings.

He claims that their findings show that a terrorist cell in control of a large area may build and deploy these lethal weapons in a short amount of time.

“This is quite upsetting. As a result, the international community must make preventing terrorist groups from gaining and utilizing weapons of mass devastation a top priority and obligation. In this regard, we encourage member states to focus their open consultations on this serious threat.”

He went on to say that, while full implementation of Resolution 1540 is a long-term task, it will necessitate ongoing and consistent efforts from member states, particularly in terms of prohibiting non-state actors from gaining access to or engaging in activities related to nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their delivery systems, particularly for terrorist purposes. 

“As a member of the 1540 Committee, India would welcome recommendations and suggestions from member states and assistance providers on how the Committee can better fulfill its mandate and improve the effectiveness of its assistance, perhaps by enabling sharing of experiences in the regions by drawing on national experiences.” 

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