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UN: India Expresses Fear of Terrorists Using Bioweapons

UN: India Expresses Fear of Terrorists Using Bioweapons

NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – Seeing the devastation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, India has put a spotlight on the threat of terrorists using biological weapons and suggested that the UN help countries deal with the risk.

“In the Covid-era, the threat of misuse of biological agents and chemicals as weapons, combined with advances in chemistry and biology has heightened,” A. Amarnath, a counselor at India’s UN Mission, said on May 31 at a consultation held by the Security Council panel dealing with terrorists and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The committee headed by Mexico is called the 1540 Committee after the Council’s 2004 resolution to prevent terrorists from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, or using nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery.

Amarnath warned that new and emerging technologies may increase the risk of terrorists deploying WMDs.

He cited reports of the UN investigative team on crimes by the Islamic State known by the acronym UNITAD.

“Their findings reveal that a terrorist group with considerable territory under its control can develop and deploy these deadly weapons within a short period of time. This is deeply disturbing,” Amarnath said. Therefore, he added that preventing terrorists from getting WMDs “must be an urgent priority and responsibility of the international community”.

Gul Qaiser, a first Secretary in Pakistan’s UN Mission, departing from the topic of terrorists acquiring WMDs, criticized what he asserted were discriminatory restrictions on export controls of dual-use items.

It was directed at India, although he did not mention it by name, because Islamabad has objected to India receiving exemptions from the US and other countries to access civilian nuclear technology and materials, while Pakistan has not.

India has the support of majority of the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group for joining the organization that controls access to nuclear technology and materials, which Pakistan does not have.

China has blocked India’s membership in the NSG.

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