India calls for constructive engagement to review OPCW

• The Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties here on November 23, India called for constructive engagement.

• The dialogue and unity of purpose to reviewing the Operation of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Convention.

Key highlights

• Addressing the Fourth Review Conference, Permanent Representative of India to the OPCW Ambassador Venu Rajamony said that constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose were the need of the hour.

• He further asserted that any long-lasting and effective solution to the challenges being faced by the OPCW can only be found through wide-ranging consultations involving all States Parties.

• “As a founding member of OPCW, India has always emphasised the importance of the principle of consensus enshrined in the Convention and the need for decisions to be taken by the States Parties in consultation with each other.

• Rajamony said that the aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention is “to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.”

• He also reiterated that as the destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion, OPCW must continue to implement its disarmament mandate by
focusing on preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons as well as the risk of their proliferation.

• “This is vital in fulfilling the OPCW’s crucial role in enhancing international peace and security,” he said.

• Expressing deepest sympathies to the victims of chemical weapon attacks and their families, Rajamony reiterated that India shares the concern over the possibility of use of chemical weapons.

Legal norms

• “The use of chemical weapons is in complete disregard of humanity and is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as accepted international legal norms.

• India believes that it is important to maintain the credibility and integrity of the Convention.
• It is essential that all investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons are impartial, objective and conducted strictly in accordance with the Convention, utilising all its provisions.

Major challenges

• India’s anxiety about the reports of the ‘Islamic State’ or ISIS/ISIL acquiring chemical weapons and their delivery systems, Rajamony said that an important step in combating this challenge was taken when the Executive Council adopted in 2017 its decision on addressing the threat posed by the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.

• India also urged the Technical Secretariat to continue to monitor this threat and report to the Executive Council on this issue.

• He also stated that the efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.

• There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques and the increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.

• The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
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Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

Prelims level: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chemical Weapons Convention

Mains level: India’s track record in chemical disarmament.

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