India calls for strong response against use of chemical weapons in different parts of world
Expressing grave concern over the increasing incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world, India has said that the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable.
India's Permanent Representative to Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Venu Rajamony, also said that the need of the hour is constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose.
Addressing the fourth review conference on Friday, Rajamony said that the aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention is "to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons", according to a statement issued by the Indian Embassy here.
This is the result of the continued commitment and collective endeavour of States Parties working in tandem with the professional and competent technical secretariat, Rajamony said.
"It is a matter of grave concern that despite our best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world" such as Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Syria and Iraq, he said.
India's consistent position is that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, cannot be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable, the Indian diplomat said.
He said India fully shares the concern over the possibility of use of chemical weapons and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims of chemical weapon attacks and their families.
"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," Rajamony said.
India believes that it is important to maintain the credibility and integrity of the Convention, he said.
"Hence, it is essential that all investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons are impartial, objective and conducted strictly in accordance with the Convention, utilizing all its provisions," he said.
Stating that India is deeply worried about the reports of the so-called 'Islamic State' acquiring chemical weapons and their delivery systems, Rajamony said that a significant step in combating this challenge was taken when the Executive Council adopted in 2017, by consensus, its decision on addressing the threat posed by the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.
"India requests the technical secretariat to continue to monitor this threat and report to the executive council on this issue," he said.
Rajamony said the OPCW has effectively addressed a number of complex challenges during 21 years of its existence.
"As the destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion, OPCW must continue to implement its disarmament mandate by focussing 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.
Rajamony said efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all 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," he said.
The growing complexity of global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament, Rajamony said.
The Indian diplomat noted that it is regrettable there has been increasing in division amongst state parties, which needs to be bridged through dialogue and consultations, to allow for the effective functioning of the organisation.
Rajamony reiterated India's willingness for all discussions with states parties to find ways and means to strengthen the convention and its effective implementation, within the framework of the convention.
(With inputs from agencies.)