Statement by India during the thematic debate on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, October 2020

The international community is acutely conscious of the grave danger posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction to international peace and security. India fully shares this concern and takes all necessary steps to address it.

2.     India attaches high importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is a unique, non-discriminatory, multilaterally negotiated and internationally verifiable disarmament instrument and serves as a model for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. It has been India’s consistent position that the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, by anybody and under any circumstances cannot be justified and the perpetrators of such acts must be held accountable.  Any use of chemical weapons is in complete disregard of humanity, is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Convention, as well as accepted international legal norms.

3.     With the second largest number of declared chemical facilities to the OPCW, India possesses a significant chemical industry. It ranks among the States Parties receiving the largest number of industry inspections from the OPCW and has an impeccable track record of verification inspections. India believes that the provisions of the Convention must be implemented in a manner that does not hinder legitimate activities.

4.     India is deeply concerned about the recent instances of the alleged use of chemical weapons in various parts of the world, including by non-state actors, especially terrorist groups and in this regard, reiterates the need for the full and effective implementation of the Convention. With regard to any allegations of use and consequent measures in this regard, India urges that the provisions and procedures laid down in the Convention be strictly adhered to by the OPCW and the concerns be addressed on the basis of cooperation among all parties concerned.  India calls on States Parties to the CWC to undertake appropriate measures to prevent use or threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.

5.     2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). India attaches high importance to the BWC as the first global and non- discriminatory disarmament Convention, prohibiting an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. India accords   high priority to its universalisation and full and effective implementation of the Convention by all States Parties. India has been actively participating in the   inter-sessional process, established under India’s chairmanship in 2017, to steer and prepare for the Ninth Review Conference of the Convention in 2021. We reiterate our call for institutional strengthening of the Convention, including through negotiation of a comprehensive and legally binding Protocol, providing for an effective, universal and non-discriminatory verification mechanism to strengthen the implementation of the Convention by States Parties.

6.  The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to fore the biosecurity threats and consequent need for strengthening cooperation amongst the States Parties to the BWC. India remains ready to cooperate and work together with other States Parties towards this effect.

7.     India has enshrined its commitment to supporting international efforts to prevent non-State actors and terrorists from acquiring WMDs and their means of delivery in Indian domestic law through the enactment of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2005. Further, India has a robust and effective national export control system. Having faced the scourge of terrorism for many decades, India has consistently highlighted the possibility of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, which endangers international peace and security. Recent advances in science and technology including their dual use applications and lowering of the technical barriers to their acquisition have increased the danger of proliferation and the potential for exploitation by terrorists and non-state actors for hostile purposes.  Mindful of these developments, India, through its annual Resolution at the UNGA, titled "Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction", has been drawing the attention of the world towards these threats and the need to strengthen international cooperation to address them.

8.     India seeks the support of Member States as sponsors/co-sponsors towards these important initiatives manifest in our annual resolution under this cluster and will continue to work with Member States towards enhancing global peace and security.

Permanent Mission of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva