Statement delivered by Mr. M.M. Ramchandra, Director, National Security Council Secretariat of India at the Second Meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Geneva, 8 August 2023

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for giving us the floor and since we have taken the floor for the first time, at the outset, I would like to congratulate you for the excellent proceedings the last two days and chairing this working group.

We are hopeful, that under your stewardship, the working group will advance its work as per the mandate set for it and we assure you of full support from our delegation in all the efforts.

I take this opportunity to further thank the Under-Secretary-General for her thoughtful remarks yesterday and also all the insightful presentations by various organisations and bodies which further highlight the need for cross-sectoral dialogue, inter-sectoral coordination for the multiple facets of the huge ambit and canvas of biosecurity and other aspects as relevant in the areas of this Convetntion.

Our working group meets in the context of recently concluded 9th Review Conference of our Convention. The Review Conference reached modest, yet important, understandings. It agreed on the establishment of this very working group. The working group is mandated to recommend measures to strengthen the convention.

These measures, as the final document notes, “should be formulated and designed in a manner such that their implementation supports international cooperation efforts, and avoids any negative impacts”.

The Conference, as we know, most importantly, also decided to “develop with a view to establishing a mechanism to facilitate and support the full implementation of the international cooperation and assistance under Article X”.

Mr. Chairman,

Our delegation’s commitment to Article X of the convention remains unchanged.

I take this opportunity to briefly reiterate our national position on the topic.

Effective implementation of Article X, in our delegation’s opinion, could bring equitable benefits for all States Parties. This is especially true for the developing countries.

It will encourage in realizing universal adherence to the Convention, and promote its full and effective implementation.

India has both extended and benefitted from international cooperation and assistance efforts first hand especially as was evidentduring the recent pandemic.

Mr. Chairman,

India stands ready to work with fellow Member States to advance concrete proposals on Article X.

We need more pointed discussion on the mandate, modalities, composition, and financial implications of the proposed mechanism under Article X.

We support efforts to make matchmaking offers and requests in the Article X database system more effective.

This, in our opinion, should be done, by identifying and fostering complementarities between international cooperation efforts in relevant international organizations.

Our delegation, also, supports the idea of establishing an Article X trust fund.

In addition, we support the strengthening of ISU with appropriate human resources, to carry out these tasks.

Mr. Chairman,

Our delegation notes the organic inter-linkages between Article III and Article X.

The cooperation envisaged under Article X should not benegatively undermined under any pretext or the Article III.

Likewise, international cooperation should not be unregulated.

Direct and indirect transfers relevant to the Convention should only be considered, when the intended use is for the purposes not prohibited under the Convention.

A balance, therefore, needs to be struck.

Mr. Chairman,

India looks forward to a productive and pragmatic outcome of the working group, including on issue of international cooperation and assistance.

We look forward to working under your guidance and wish the meeting all the success.

Permanent Mission of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva