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Post at: May 28 2022

WMD Amendment Bill

Recent Context

  • The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in April, 2022.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The bill seeks to expand the existing 2005 law of the same name, to include a ban on funding of weapons of mass destruction, and empowers the central government to freeze and seize the financial assets of people involved in such activities.
  • The 2005 Act prohibited the manufacturing, transport, and transfer of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery.

Why was the 2005 Act amended?

  • According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, the need to amend the Act rose because:
    • “In recent times, regulations relating to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems by international organisations have expanded”, and
    • “The United Nations Security Council’s targeted financial sanctions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force have mandated against financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems”.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is the term used to describe a munition that can indiscriminately a large number of living beings.
  • In 1977, the United Nations affirmed the definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction as atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which might have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above.”
  • In short, WMDs cover nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Control over use of WMDs

  • The use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is regulated by a number of international treaties and agreements.
  • Among them are the Geneva Protocol, 1925, that banned the use of chemical and biological weapons; and the Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on the biological and chemical weapons respectively.
  • India has signed and ratified both the 1972 and 1992 treaties. There are very few non-signatory countries to these treaties, even though several countries have been accused of non-compliance.
  • The use and proliferation of nuclear weapons is regulated by treaties such as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
     


 


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