India cites Covid-19 as it highlights the importance of bio-weapon accord

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 27, 2020, 11.24 PM(IST) Reported By: Sidhant Sibal Edited By: Sonal Gera

Representative image Photograph:( IANS )

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In making the fresh call to ban biological weapons on the occasion of 45th anniversary of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming into force, India also mentioned the fast spreading coronavirus and its global impact.

India has pitched for a imposition of a global treaty banning production of entire range of biological weapons of mass destruction.

In making the fresh call to ban biological weapons on the occasion of 45th anniversary of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming into force, India also mentioned the fast spreading coronavirus and its global impact.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need for international cooperation, including institutional strengthening of the World Health Organisation. It said India has been working with other member countries of the Convention to establish a database which can play an important role in dealing with bio-threats and bio-emergencies.

"India strongly believes that the BWC must respond effectively to the challenges posed by the new and emerging scientific and technological developments of relevance to the Convention," the MEA said.

"The global economic and social implications of the pandemic, caused by COVID-19, have underlined the need for international cooperation, including institutional strengthening of the WHO," it added.

The Biological Weapons Convention came into effect in 1975, and 183 countries are its part. The convention calls for prohibition to development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.

The MEA, in the statement, added it "takes this opportunity to call upon all States Parties to the BWC to recommit themselves to full and effective implementation of the Convention and full compliance with it, in letter and spirit."

The coronavirus pandemic, which first emerged in Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed over 21,000 people and infected close to 500,000 in nearly 150 countries.

"India reaffirms its unwavering commitment to continue to work together with fellow States Parties towards strengthening the Convention in all its aspects," MEA added.

Ahead of the ninth Review Conference of the Convention in 2021, India reiterated its call for putting in place a comprehensive and legally binding protocol having a non-discriminatory verification mechanism to strengthen norms to deal with biological weapons.