Looming Threat of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents
In the recent past, a dramatic shift has been observed in the strategies of warfare from conventional to non-conventional. Now-a-days, traditional power is of less importance than it used to be earlier. Weapons of mass destruction, which comprise of nuclear weapons, and chemical and biological warfare agents, are posing a great peril to the world due to their devastating potential. Though, there are several bilateral as well as multilateral treaties to control the use and proliferation of these weapons, yet the risk of use of such agents by non-state actors cannot be overlooked. Chances of use of chemical and biological agents are more likely than the nuclear weapons. A comparison of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in terms of technology, cost, signature, effectiveness on protected and un-protected troops shows that chemical and biological weapon programmes require much lower level of technology and cost than the nuclear weapon programme. Further, there is no or least distinctive and readily observable signature in biological weapon programme in comparison to nuclear and chemical weapon facilities. There can be two possibilities of use of these agents in terrorist attacks. First, there is a risk of transfer of material or know-how of these weapons to terrorists for using against the adversaries and second, the risk of these agents being pilfered due to poor security, thereby sabotaging the national security. The International Committee of Red Cross in February 1918 reckoned these agents as ‘barbarous inventions’ that can ‘only be called criminal’.
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