The Hague/New Delhi:
India is "deeply" concerned over reports of ‘Islamic State’ or ISIS acquiring chemical weapons and has asked the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to closely monitor the threat.
“India is deeply worried about reports of the so-called Islamic State or ISIS/ISIL acquiring chemical weapons and their delivery systems and requests the Technical Secretariat to closely monitor this threat and report to the Executive Council on this emerging challenge,” Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to OPCW Venu Rajamony said in a statement issued by the Indian Embassy at the Haque on Wednesday.
Addressing the 88th session of the Executive Council of the chemical weapons watchdog at the Haque on Tuesday, Rajamony said: “India shares the widespread concern over fresh allegations on the use of chemical weapons coming from different parts of the world”.
“We are saddened to learn about the tragic loss of life of a UK citizen in Amesbury following the exposure to a toxic chemical. We express our deepest sympathies to all victims of chemical weapon attacks and their families,” he said.
Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old British woman, died on July 8, days after being exposed to a “high dose” of a deadly nerve agent in Amesbury, near the town of Salisbury in southwest England. Four months ago here, a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with the same chemical.
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It has been India’s consistent stance that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, cannot be justified Rajamoney said. The perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable, he added.
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, he said.
He said any allegations of use of chemical weapons should be addressed in an effective and timely manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the convention.
“All investigations in this regard should be impartial and objective and must strive to establish facts and reach evidence-based conclusions,” Rajamony said.
India urges that all provisions of the convention be utilised to address concerns in accordance with the procedures laid down in the convention, he said.
As one of the original signatories of the convention and an active member of the OPCW, India has always emphasised the importance of consensus and the need for all decisions to be taken by the states parties in consultation with each other, Rajamony said.
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“It is the responsibility of all states parties to preserve and protect the integrity and credibility of the convention. Effective solutions to the challenges faced by the OPCW can be found through constructive engagement and dialogue,” he said.
Rajamony said India remains willing and open for discussions with states parties to find ways and means to strengthen the convention and its effective implementation, within the framework of the convention.
“Our efforts in the OPCW should help to eliminate all possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons and uphold the global norm against use of chemical weapons,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)