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LS passes Bill prohibiting financing of WMDs

The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 was passed in Lok Sabha through voice vote.

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill to amend the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 to prohibit financing of such weapons.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 was passed in Lok Sabha through voice vote. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the Bill is required for India to fulfill its international obligations.

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Moving the Bill for discussion, Jaishankar said the Bill is in both national and global interest. “The act prohibits unlawful activities in respect of biological chemical and nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Initial thoughts were about export control… In recent years, however, international regulations have been strengthened, in particular the UN Security Council and the FATF their recommendations have mandated provisions against financing of these weapons,” Jaishankar said.

He said presently there are no specific provisions in the 2005 legislation related to regulation or prohibition of financing. “Therefore there is a need to amend the WMD act to do so,” he said.

The Bill also proposes empowering the central government to attach assets to prohibit such financing. Participating in the debate on the Bill, Congress MP Uttam Kumar Reddy said the government also needs to focus on countries that are financing creating of weapons of mass destruction.

“We all know who is financing terror operations against India and very specific information about them financing weapons of mass destruction… I think FATF has also put Pakistan on the grey list… The Government of India needs to do more on countries financing weapons of mass destruction against India,” Reddy said.

The MP said he has served on both Pakistan and China border as a fighter pilot, and said, “It should be alarming that all of Pakistani aircraft now and the modern Chinese aircraft can deliver weapons of mass destruction.

On one hand you have Pakistan and Chinese modern acquisition, on the other hand the Indian Air Force with sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons, has now come down to 28… Government should take a very serious note of it,” he said. BJP MP Raghavendra Singh Rathor said the amendment in the act is being made for national security.

He said rogue nations or terror groups are capable of using weapons of mass destruction, and manufacturing such weapons was easy. The new legislation prohibits the financing of such weapons.

The 2005 Act only prohibited the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. “In recent times, regulations relating to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems by international organisations have expanded.

Further, the UN 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,” Jaishankar said in the statement of object and reasons of the Bill. He said there is a need to amend the Act to provide against the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. 

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