Convention is a universal non-discriminatory, multilateral, Disarmament
Treaty which bans the development, production, acquisition, transfer, use and stockpile of
all chemical weapons. The Treaty puts all the States Parties on an equal footing.
Countries having stockpiles of chemical weapons are required to declare and destroy
them in a specified time frame and those who produce and use chemicals that can
be conveniently converted into chemical weapons have to be open and
transparent about the use they put these chemicals to. The Convention was opened for
signature on 13th January, 1993 in Paris. India signed the Convention on 14th
2. The Convention entered
into force 180 days after deposit of 65th instrument of ratification.
Indias instrument of ratification was deposited on 3rd Sept., 1996 making
India the 62nd States Party to ratify the Treaty. The 65th
instrument of ratification was deposited on 31st October, 1996 and the
Convention entered into force on 29th April, 1997. As on 30.11.2004, 167
countries are state parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Some of the important
countries who have ratified the Treaty include USA, China, Japan, United Kingdom, France,
Germany, Australia, Canada, Russia, Pakistan and the Netherlands.
3. The Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC) requires the State Parties to undertake not to develop, produce,
otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons or transfer directly or indirectly
chemical weapons to anyone and not to use chemical weapons and engage in military
preparations. It also enjoins upon the States Parties to undertake destruction of all
chemical weapons including old chemical weapons and abandoned chemical weapons in a
stipulated time frame. The State Parties to the Convention are prohibited from using riot
control agents as a method of warfare. Each State Party, however, has the right under the
provisions of the Convention to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, retain, transfer and
use toxic chemicals and their precursors for purposes not prohibited under the Convention
such as Industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical, protective and other
peaceful purposes. The Convention classifies toxic chemicals into three schedules.
Schedule 1 lists chemicals that are produced and stockpiled as chemical weapons. Schedule
2 contains such precursors which pose significant risk to the objective and purpose of
CWC, since these chemicals are capable of generating Schedule 1 chemicals. In Schedule 3
are listed dual purpose chemicals that have large number of legitimate civilian commercial
applications and which could also be used for purposes of developing chemical weapons. The
list of scheduled chemicals is annexed.
4. The Chemical Weapons
Convention entails a number of obligations on the State Parties which include regular
reporting of data relating to production, processing, consumption, use and transfer in
respect of chemicals, their plants and plant sites, chemical weapons, chemical weapons
production facilities, riot control agents etc. The data contained in the declarations
made is subject to verification through a mechanism of inspections by the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). India has hosted 16 OPCW inspections as on
30.10.2004. Therefore, the declarations have to be correct and complete in all respects.
The Convention also provides for enactment of penal legislation prohibiting the activities
not permitted by the convention to a State Party.
Implementation Measures are required to be undertaken by the State Parties to fulfil their
obligations under the Treaty.
Article VII of
the Convention regarding the National Implementation Measures is as follows:
Each State Party shall,
in accordance with its constitutional processes, adopt the necessary measures to implement
its obligations under this Convention. In particular, it shall:
Prohibit natural and
legal persons anywhere on its territory or in any other place under its jurisdiction as
recognised by international law from undertaking any activity prohibited to a State Party
under this Convention, including enacting penal legislation with respect to such activity.
Not permit in any place
under its control any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention; and
Extend its penal
legislation enacted under subparagraph (a) to any activity prohibited to a State Party
under this Convention undertaken anywhere by natural persons, possessing its nationality,
in conformity with international law.
Each State Party shall
cooperate with other State Parties and afford the appropriate form of legal assistance to
facilitate the implementation of the obligations under the conventions.
Each State Party,
during the implementation of its obligations under this Convention, shall assign the
highest priority to ensuring the safety of people and to protecting the environment, and
shall cooperate as appropriate with other States Parties in this regard.
The Indian CWC Act 2000
was passed in August 2000. Section 18(1) of the Act requires that all persons engaged in
activities related to scheduled chemicals and discrete organic chemicals will be required
to submit applications for registration who are engaged in the activities of their
facilities to the registration authority.
Relations between the State Party and the OPCW:
In order to fulfil its
obligations under this Convention, each State Party shall designate or establish a
National Authority to serve as the national focal point for effective liaison with the
Organisation and other State Parties. Each State Party shall notify the Organisation of
its National Authority at the time that this Convention enters into force for it.
Each State Party shall
inform the Organisation of the legislative and administrative measures taken to implement
Each State Party shall
treat as confidential and afford special handling to information and data that It receives
in confidence from the Organisation in connection with the implementation of this
It shall treat such
information and data exclusively in connection with its rights and obligations under this
Convention and in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Confidentiality Annex.
Each State Party
undertakes to cooperate with the Organisation in the exercise of all its functions and in
particular to provide assistance to the Technical Secretariat".