India has warned the international community about the possibility of terrorists and non-state actors getting access to biological agents and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and called for immediate steps to meet this threat.
Making this point, India also cautioned all the stakeholders about the “heightened” threat of misuse of biological agents and chemicals as weapons against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This note of caution was sounded by A Amarnath, a counselor at India’s United Nations (UN) Mission late Tuesday at the open consultations of the UN Security Council 1540 Committee on the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
He said new and emerging technologies may increase the risk of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) access by terrorist groups and other non-state actors.
“The access to these weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and other non-state actors adds a serious dimension to threats posed by these weapons to international peace and security,” Amarnath said.
He also underlined the need for focus on rapid evolution of proliferation risks. “New and emerging technologies may increase these risks of WMD access by terrorist groups and other non-state actors. The growing capabilities of terrorists and other non-state groups to access delivery systems like missiles and unmanned /uncrewed aerial systems have compounded the risks of terrorism using WMDs.
“Similarly, in the COVID-era, the threat of misuse of biological agents and chemicals as weapons, combined with advances in chemistry and biology, has heightened.
The open consultations would be a useful forum to deliberate on these issues and how the Committee can assist member states in this area,” he said.
He stressed that India accords great importance to the implementation of resolution 1540. “With our longstanding commitment to global non-proliferation, we have established a strong law-based, national system to implement the provisions of resolution 1540,” Amarnath said.
He said recognising the role of the industry, academia and other key stakeholders in facilitating the States' implementation of resolution 1540, India has been organising outreach events involving these stakeholders at the national level, and in the region.