India Abstains on Russia’s Resolution at UNSC on Ukraine’s Alleged Bio Weapons


    In News

    • Recently India abstained on a Russia-sponsored draft resolution at UNSC for a probe into Ukraine’s alleged bioweapons.

    More about the news

    • Issue:
      • Russia has raised the issue of chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine several times at the U.N. Security Council since its forces invaded Ukraine. 
    • Russian resolution at UNSC:
      • Recently a motion was sponsored by Russia at the UNSC that sought to establish a commission to investigate claims by Moscow that the U.S. and Ukraine are carrying out “military biological activities” in laboratories in Ukraine in violation of the biological weapons convention.
    • Failed attempt:
      • The resolution failed to get adopted as only two Council members — Russia and China — voted in its favour
      • In contrast, the U.S., the U.K. and France voted against it.
      • The other Council members, including India, abstained.
    • India’s opinion:
      • In the explanation of the vote, India attached high importance to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which is the first non-discriminatory disarmament treaty banning a complete category of weapons of mass destruction.
      • India also reiterated the need to negotiate a comprehensive legally binding protocol providing for an effective, universal and non-discriminatory verification mechanism to strengthen the implementation of the Convention.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

    • WMDs are weapons with the capacity to inflict death and destruction on such a massive scale and so indiscriminately that its very presence in the hands of a hostile power can be considered a grievous threat. 
    • Modern weapons of mass destruction are either nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons—frequently referred to collectively as NBC weapons.

    More about the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

    • About:
      • Came into force in 1975 and the Convention was negotiated by the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland.
    • Aim:
      • Treaty prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological weapons.
    • Signatories:
      • It has 183 signatories, including the United States, Russia, and Ukraine.
      • India has signed and ratified this convention.
    • Significance:
      • It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
      • The BWC is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address WMD proliferation and it has established a strong norm against biological weapons.
      • A total of eight Review Conferences have taken place since the first one in 1980.
    • Issues:
      • There is no implementation body of the BTWC, allowing for blatant violations as seen in the past.
      • This conference takes place every five years to assess and try to improve upon the convention’s implementation, however, it has no provisions to make sure countries are abiding by its terms.

    Chemical Weapons Convention, 1997

    • About:
      • It is an arms control treaty that allows for the stringent verification of compliance by State Parties.
    • Genesis:
      • It was adopted by the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on 3rd September 1992 after 12 years of negotiations.
      • It opened for signature in Paris on 13th January 1993 and entered into force on 29th April 1997.
    • Administration & prohibition:
      • It is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 
      • It prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of CWs by state parties.
    • Significance:
      • It is the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework that provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control.
    • India:
      • India is a signatory and party.

    Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

    • About: 
      • The NPTcame into force in 1970. 
      • The provisions of the Treaty envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years.
      • The Tenth Review Conference, scheduled for 2020, was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Aim: 
      • It seeks to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons.
    • Members: 
      • A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.
    • Non-signatories:
      • India, Israel, South Sudan and Pakistan never signed NPT and North Korea has declared withdrawal in the past.
    • India’s stand:
      • India refused to sign it on the grounds that the nuclear weapons states must agree to a clear plan for nuclear disarmament.
      • India reiterated its commitment to a Nuclear Weapons Convention calling for a verifiable and non-discriminatory elimination of all nuclear weapons.

    The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) 

    • About:
      • It is a multilateral treaty to ban nuclear weapons test explosions and any other nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. 
    • Not in force:
      • It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but has not entered into force.

    India’s Stand on Russia’s War with Ukraine & way ahead

    • India’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been distinctive among the major democracies and among U.S. strategic partners. 
    • Despite its discomfort with Moscow’s war, New Delhi has adopted studied public neutrality toward Russia
    • It has abstained from successive votes in the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council that condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and thus far has refused to openly call out Russia as the instigator of the crisis. 
    • India has been under immense indirect pressure from Western nations that have openly condemned Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. 
    • India has been pressing for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.

    Source: TH