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India calls for a world free of chemical weapons

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 July 2017, 0:48 IST
India calls for a world free of chemical weapons

India on Thursday condemned chemical attack in Syria and called for a world free of chemical weapons.

Venu Rajamony, Permanent Representative of India to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), condemned chemical attack in Syria and called for world free of chemical weapons.

The India's representative said, "A world free of chemical weapons means two things (a) that the existing stockpile of chemical weapons is irreversibly destroyed and (b) re-emergence of chemical weapons is scrupulously prevented."

Speaking on the future challenges and the daunting tasks of preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons, Rajamony stated that "liquidation of existing stockpiles has been almost completed despite the process being expensive, technologically challenging and with potential consequences to the environment. Re-emergence could happen anywhere or any time, with known or unknown chemicals and with no warning".

He further added, "Free availability of raw materials and enhanced access to technical knowhow through the internet are factors which help subversive elements to craft chemical weapons with comparative ease. Emergence of non-state actors further exacerbates the situation".

The Indian delegation commended the efforts of the two Co-Chairpersons of the Open Ended Working Group on Future Priorities (OEWG-FP).

The Indian representative stressed that the world faced daunting challenges with discovery of new toxic molecules, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques and "emergence of non-state actors are among the important developments that call for greater vigilance and for renewing our efforts".

Condemning the use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals in Syria and Iraq by terrorists, Indian representative said, "The Indian delegation is deeply concerned at the reported use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. We hope that the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) will take forward the findings of the FFM and identify the perpetrators of this abhorrent act. There are also concerns with reports of acquisition of chemical weapons and their delivery systems by the so-called 'Islamic State' or ISIS/ISIL."

He furhter added, "India welcomes the completion of destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and progress made so far in the matter of destruction of Syria's chemical weapons production facilities."

He said that India endorsed the statement delivered by the distinguished Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) States Parties to the CWC and China.

Giving credit to several institutions that led to the success of the OPCW, Rajamony said, "The success of the Chemical Weapon Convention is the result of collaborative efforts of the States Parties, the chemical industry, the community of scientists and civil society, working in tandem with the OPCW."

"The non-discriminatory principles enshrined in the Convention, the commitment of the States Parties and the competence of the Technical Secretariat - all have combined to rid the world, almost completely, of the existing chemical weapon stockpile and also made countries vigilant about chemicals or chemical technology being diverted for illicit purposes," Rajamony further said.

One of the core commitments pledged by each Member State to the Convention is to promote the peaceful uses of chemistry.

Rajamony stressed that "flow of chemicals and technology across national borders for peaceful purposes ought to be intensified and the provisions of the Chemical Weapon Convention should not be used for hampering these trans-national movements".

While it is true that the Convention is neither a Counter-Terrorism Treaty nor a Chemical Safety Treaty, India noted that the OPCW has emerged as a forum for consultation and cooperation between the States Parties which includes exchange of ideas and discussion of best practices in the area of chemical safety and security.

Stressing on the need to introduce new rules, Permanent Representative of India said, "One of the important tasks of this Council is that the appointment process of the new Director-General of this Organization should be open, fair and transparent in order to ensure support from all quarters.


First published: 14 July 2017, 0:48 IST