Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India calls for constructive engagement to review OPCW


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chemical Weapons Convention

Mains level: India’s track record in chemical disarmament.


  • At the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties held on November 23, India called for constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose to reviewing the Operation of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Convention.

Unforeseen challenges

  1. There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques.
  2. There is an increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors such as IS and other terror outfits.
  3. The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
  4. Despite best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world such as Malaysia, UK and Northern Ireland, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

Need for long lasting solutions

  1. Any long-lasting and effective solution to the challenges being faced by the OPCW can only be found through wide-ranging consultations involving all States Parties.
  2. The aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention is to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.

India’s stand on chemical weapons

  1. As a founding member of OPCW, India has always emphasized the importance of the principle of consensus enshrined in the Convention.
  2. The destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion.
  3. OPCW must continue to implement its disarmament mandate by focusing on preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons as well as the risk of their proliferation.
  4. This is vital in fulfilling the OPCW’s crucial role in enhancing international peace and security.

Way Forward

  1. The use of these weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances is unjustifiable.
  2. India bats for the perpetrators of these despicable acts must be held accountable.
  3. The efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.


Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  1. The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.
  2. The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
  3. The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.
  4. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections.
  5. The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  6. The organisation is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and practical issues.
  7. India is one of its founding members.*
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