To secure foreign and security policy ends, several Western states and international organisations have employed economic authorization. Through the years, authorization have been imposed to attain a range of objectives—including checking the spread of nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons. Authorization have been used to coerce states, organisations or individuals to abstain from using, developing or aiding in the development of such weapons.
Often, authorization are a multilateral effort, however certain states have operative legal provisions to impose authorization. The US, for instance possesses intricate laws with provisions for economic authorization. Concurrently, states like France have led adept attempts to check the use of chemical and biological weapons— threatening authorization on noncompliance.
Foriegn Laws regarding the growth of nuclear, biological and chemical weaponsUS Authorization Laws
Especially since the 1990s, the US has profusely used authorization to check the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as their delivery systems. The US authorization regime is intricate, conceptualised to not only discourage, but also penalise defection by involving supplementary economic restrictions, or secondary authorization to amerce non-US citizens or companies for engaging with the primary target. Currently, several states including Iran, North Korea, and Syria are under US authorization for activities involving proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. There are provisions in several US laws that call for authorization against individuals or businesses that help foreign governments to develop or acquire chemical and biological weapons.
The US maintains a detailed list of such authorization, which is shared with the public for their perusal.
Few of the significant laws are — Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, and Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998. Section 81 of the AECA concerns authorization against foreign persons who knowingly aid foreign governments in developing, or acquiring chemical or biological weapons. Section 307 of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, directs the US President to stop “foreign assistance, arms sales and licenses, credits, guarantees, and certain exports” to the governments of states that have, “used or made substantial preparation to use chemical or biological weapons.” The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 contains Section 103, on the US’ Civil Liability, that lists a number of authorization on individual or organisations that assist or encourage proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
While the provisions deal with penalising states or entities, they also have a deterrent effect on rational states, as disclosing the Often mandatory US measures place a disincentive on proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.
Authorization and recent cases
The 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria, is regarded as the first major case of chemical weapons use since 1988— when Iraq used the weapons against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. According to US reports, the Syrian government has used banned chemical weapons at least 50 times in the last seven years. While it took longer for Western powers like the US, France and UK to build consensus on initiating military action against Syria, imposing authorization on the other hand was relatively prompt. So far, the US, and France, among others, have imposed a number of authorization against individuals and businesses suspected of aiding the Syrian government in developing and using weapons of mass destruction. In the last few years, while the US has found the United Nations’ (UN) efforts to punish Syria wanting, France has led significant initiatives against the West Asian state — Often involving authorization.
On January 23, 2018 the French Foreign Ministry hosted an initiative titled the ‘International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons’ securing the support of the European Union (EU), and several states including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Turkey. The measures agreed on included, using “relevant mechanisms to designate individuals, entities, groups and governments involved in the proliferation of chemical weapons for authorization.” The measure also urged states to use their domestic criminal law to penalise states that use chemical weapons. Hence calling for unilateral authorization. While the EU has imposed authorization or ‘restrictive measures’ against Syria — as of March 2018, the count being 261 persons and 61 entities, resolutions calling for authorization have been vetoed in the UN. Garnering support in the UN to impose authorization against Syria has been tough for the Western powers as Russia and China have been uncooperative.
In February 2017, Russia and China vetoed a resolution drafted by France, Britain and the United States. As Russia said that authorization would harm the forthcoming peace talks between the sparring Syrian parties, China’s UN Ambassador, Liu Jieyi believed that the time was not appropriate to initiate action. Meanwhile, discussions at forums like BRICS were more layered, with two dissenting UN members in the group, its response to the Syrian case was dubbed as “balanced.” As the recent cases elucidate, the use of authorization to impede the spread and development of weapons of mass destruction has increased.
However, the aversion of the non-Western states to use authorization should also be acknowledged. While states like India, have taken a stance against the development and proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, they have been sceptical about the use of authorization, particularly unilateral.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that the West’s use of authorization would abate and in the future economic authorization will be profusely, if not always effectively, be used to check development and proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.
But where does India stands in having a nuclear arsenel of chemical and biological weapons?
India has a well-developed biotechnology infrastructure that includes numerous pharmaceutical production facilities and bio-containment laboratories (including BSL-3 and BSL-4) for working with lethal pathogens. It also has highly qualified scientists with expertise in infectious diseases. Some of India’s facilities are being used to support research and development for biological weapons (BW) defence purposes. India has ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and pledges to abide by its obligations. There is no clear evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that directly points toward an offensive BW program. India does possess the scientific capability and infrastructure to launch an offensive BW program, but has chosen not to do so. In terms of delivery, India also possesses the capability to produce aerosols and has numerous potential delivery systems ranging from crop dusters to sophisticated ballistic missiles.
No information exists in the public domain suggesting interest by the Indian government in delivery of biological agents by these or any other means. To reiterate the latter point, in October 2002, the then President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam asserted that “India will not make biological weapons. It is cruel to human beings”.
In 1992, India signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), stating that it did not have chemical weapons and the capacity or intent to manufacture chemical weapons. By doing this India became one of the original signatories of the CWC in 1993,and ratified it on 2 September 1996. According to India’s ex-Army Chief General Sunderji, a country having the capability of making nuclear weapons does not need to have chemical weapons, since the dread of chemical weapons could be created only in those countries that do not have nuclear weapons. Others suggested that the fact that India has found chemical weapons dispensable highlighted its confidence in the conventional weapons system at its command.
In June 1997, India declared its stock of chemical weapons (1,045 tonnes of sulphur mustard).By the end of 2006, India had destroyed more than 75 percent of its chemical weapons/material stockpile and was granted extension for destroying the remaining stocks by April 2009 and was expected to achieve 100 percent destruction within that time frame. India informed the United Nations in May 2009 that it had destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons in compliance with the international Chemical Weapons Convention. With this India has become third country after South Korea and Albania to do so.This was cross-checked by inspectors of the United Nations.
India has an advanced commercial chemical industry, and produces the bulk of its own chemicals for domestic consumption. It is also widely acknowledged that India has an extensive civilian chemical and pharmaceutical industry and annually exports considerable quantities of chemicals to countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and Taiwan.
However, It must be noted that India maintains a “no first use” nuclear policy and has developed a nuclear triad capability as a part of its “minimum credible deterrence” doctrine.