A STUDY ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (WMD) AND
THEIR DELIVERY SYSTEMS AMENDMENT BILL, 2022
The Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of
Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022, was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha by the
Indian government. The law proposes to make it illegal to finance any activity related to
weapons of mass destruction, as well as to allow authorities to take action against anyone
who finance such activities. Weapons of Mass Damage are weapons that have the capability
to inflict huge death and destruction on an indiscriminate basis, making their mere presence
in the hands of a hostile force a grave threat. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons,
commonly known as NBC weapons, are the most common kind of modern weapons of mass
devastation. Since at least 1937, when it was used to describe massed formations of bomber
aircraft, the term "weapons of mass destruction" has been in use.
It also aims to give the government the powers to “freeze, seize or attach funds or other
financial assets or economic resources owned or controlled, wholly or jointly, directly or
indirectly, by such person; or held by or on behalf of, or at the direction of, such person; or
derived or generated from the funds or other assets owned or controlled, directly or indirectly,
by such person.
FEATURE OF THE BILL
The bill aims to amend the 2005 Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery
Systems (Prohibition of Illegal Activities) Act. The 2005 Act was passed to make illegal
operations involving weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems illegal. This Act
prohibits the use of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as their delivery
mechanisms, for illegal purposes. It also establishes a set of integrated legislative
measures to regulate the export of materials, equipment, and technologies related to
weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, as well as the transfer of such
materials, equipment, and technology to non-state actors or terrorists. The current
Weapons of Mass Destruction Act does not address the financial aspects of such delivery
systems, so additional measures are required to meet international
responsibilities.The United Nations Security Council’s targeted financial sanctions and the
recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force have mandated against financing of
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL
The Bill aims to achieve mainly three primary objectives that are as follows
1. Prohibit financing of activities linked to weapon for mass destruction .
2. Empower the Centre to freeze, seize or attach funds, financial assets or economic
resources for preventing such financing.
3. Prohibit making available funds, financial assets or economic resources for any
prohibited activity in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery
INDIA AND THE INTERNATIONAL TRATIES
A variety of international treaties and accords govern the use of weapons of mass destruction
such as chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The Geneva Protocol, signed in 1925,
prohibited the use of chemical and biological weapons; the Biological Weapons Convention,
signed in 1972, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, signed in 1992, both established
extensive bans on biological and chemical weapons. Both the 1972 and 1992 treaties have
been signed and ratified by India. Despite the fact that numerous countries have been accused
of non-compliance, there are very few non-signatory countries to these treaties. Treaties such
as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
govern the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons (CTBT).