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Exercise TARKASH& looming threat of chemical and biological warfare

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    16th Feb, 2023


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 Ukrainein 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 other 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:
    • Geneva Protocol, 1925, that banned the use of chemical and biological weapons
    • Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on the 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 is regulated by treaties such as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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