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India deeply worried on reports of ISIS acquiring chemical weapons

India is "deeply worried" about reports of the so-called 'Islamic State' or ISIS acquiring chemical weapons and has asked the chemical weapons watchdog OPCW to closely monitor this threat.

"India shares the wide-spread concern over fresh allegations on the use of chemical weapons coming from different parts of the world," Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to OPCW, Venu Rajamony, said, addressing the 88th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) here yesterday.

He said: "We are saddened to learn about the tragic loss of life of a UK citizen in Amesbury following the exposure to a toxic chemical. We express our deepest sympathies to all victims of chemical weapon attacks and their families."

Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old British woman, died on July 8, days after being exposed to a "high dose" of a deadly nerve agent in Amesbury, near the town of Salisbury in south west England where a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with the same chemical four months ago.

Rajamony said it has been India's consistent position that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, cannot be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable.

The use of chemical weapons is in complete disregard of humanity and is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as accepted international legal norms, he said.

"India is deeply worried about reports of the so-called 'Islamic State' or ISIS/ISIL acquiring chemical weapons and their delivery systems and requests the Technical Secretariat to closely monitor this threat and report to the Executive Council on this emerging challenge," Rajamony was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Indian Embassy here today.
He said any allegations of use of chemical weapons should be addressed in an effective and timely manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the convention.

"All investigations in this regard should be impartial and objective and must strive to establish facts and reach evidence-based conclusions," Rajamony said.

India urges that all provisions of the convention be utilised to address concerns in accordance with the procedures laid down in the convention, he said.

Ambassador Rajamony said as one of the original signatories of the convention and an active member of the OPCW, India has always emphasised the importance of consensus and the need for all decisions to be taken by the states parties in consultation with each other.

"It is the responsibility of all states parties to preserve and protect the integrity and credibility of the convention. Effective solutions to the challenges faced by the OPCW can be found through constructive engagement and dialogue," he said.

Rajamony said India remains willing and open for discussions with states parties to find ways and means to strengthen the convention and its effective implementation, within the framework of the convention.

"Our efforts in the OPCW should help to eliminate all possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons and uphold the global norm against use of chemical weapons," he added.

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