Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022

    0
    412

    In News 

    • Recently, the Minister of External Affairs introduced Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022.

    Why is it needed ?

    • In recent times, regulations relating to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems by international organisations have expanded. 
    • Further, the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) targeted financial sanctions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have mandated against financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
    • The need is felt to amend the said Act to provide against the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems so as to fulfil our international obligations.

    Major Highlights of the Bill

    •  Amends 2005 Act: 
      • The existing Act (Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005) does not cover the financial aspect of WMD delivery systems and inclusion of new provisions was essential to meet India’s international obligations.
        • The 2005 act only banned manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.
        • The Bill amends the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005. 
          • The 2005 Act prohibits unlawful activities (such as manufacturing, transport, or transfer) related to weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery. 
    •  Insertion of  a new Section 12A:
      • The Bill seeks to insert a new Section 12A in the existing law which bars persons from financing any prohibited activity related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.  
        •  To prevent persons from financing such activities, the central government may freeze, seize or attach their funds, financial assets, or economic resources (whether owned, held, or controlled directly or indirectly).  
        • It may also prohibit persons from making finances or related services available for the benefit of other persons in relation to any activity which is prohibited.

    What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

    • The expression “weapon of mass destruction” (WMD) is usually considered to have been used first by the leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937 to refer to the aerial bombing of civilians in the Basque town of Guernica by German and Italian fascists in support of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
    • In 1977, the General Assembly, through its resolution 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.”
    • Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) constitute a class of weaponry with the potential to:
      • Produce in a single moment an enormous destructive effect capable to kill millions of civilians, jeopardise the natural environment, and fundamentally alter the lives of future generations through their catastrophic effects;
      • Cause death or serious injury of people through toxic or poisonous chemicals;
      • Disseminate disease-causing organisms or toxins to harm or kill humans, animals or plants;
      • Deliver nuclear explosive devices, chemical, biological or toxin agents to use them for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

    Multilateral treaties Associated with it 

    • A number of multilateral treaties exist to outlaw several classes of WMDs.
    • These treaties include the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
      • Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 1972
        • It is formally known as “the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction”.
        •  It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.
        •  It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). 
        • India has signed and ratified this.
      • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): 
        • It is formally known as “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction”. 
        • The CWC was adopted by the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on September 3, 1992. The CWC allows for the stringent verification of compliance by State Parties.
        • India has signed and ratified this.
      • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):
        •  It is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
        • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. 
        • The Treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
      • Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW): 
        • It includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. 
        • These include undertakings not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. 
        • The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. 
      • Other Treaties: Several treaties also exist to prevent the proliferation of missiles and related technologies, which can be used as a vehicle to deliver WMD payloads. 
        • These treaties include the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

    Source:IE