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11th February 2023 (7 Topics)

Exercise TARKASH


The National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF) conducted the joint exercise named TARKASH. This is the sixth edition of the exercise

Key highlights of the Indo-US joint exercise

  • Conducted between: India’s National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF)
  • Background: The exercise comes in the backdrop of Russian allegations against Ukraine in May last year that Kyiv had orchestrated a chemical attack in Kharkiv to blame Russia and get military aid from the West.
  • Objective: The exercise for the first time included “Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response” in its drill.
  • The objective was to rapidly neutralise the terrorists, rescue the hostages safely and deactivate the chemical weapons being carried by the terrorists. A drill to counter chemical and biological attacks by terrorists was also included.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Weapons

  • Today, chemical and biological warfare are being recognised as a looming threat to the world.
  • These types of weapons have the ability to create both mass casualties as well as mass disruption of society. 
  • CBRN weapons are also classified as weapons of mass destruction.
  • They have been used by States and terror elements in the past.
    • The most recent use of CBRN in the form of a sarin gas attack was witnessed in Syria in 2017 when more than 100 people died.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

  • While there is no single, authoritative definition of a WMD in international law, the expression is usually understood to cover nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.
  • According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, “A weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or another device that is intended to harm a large number of people.”

International Treaties related to WMD

  • The use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is regulated by a number of international treaties and agreements.
  • Among them are the:
    • The Geneva Protocol, of 1925, banned the use of chemical and biological weapons
    • Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on biological and chemical weapons respectively.
  • India has signed and ratified both the 1972 and 1992 treaties.
  • There are very few non-signatory countries to these treaties, even though several countries have been accused of non-compliance.
  • The use and proliferation of nuclear weapons are regulated by treaties such as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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