India has been firmly opposed to any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, and under any circumstances

India on Tuesday expressed its concern about the possibility of chemical weapons in Syria falling into the hands of terrorist organizations and individuals.

“Terrorist groups have taken advantage of the decade long conflict in Syria to entrench themselves posing a threat to the entire region. The world cannot afford to give these terrorists any sanctuary or dilute its fight against these terrorist groups,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti said during the UNSC meeting on Syria on Tuesday. This was the first participation of India in the UNSC deliberations.

At the UN high table, while underlining the need for an impartial and objective probe into any alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, India’s Permanent Representative called for “scrupulously following the provisions and procedures laid down in Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Attaching high importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Tirumurti described it as “a unique, non-discriminatory disarmament instrument and serves as a model for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.”

“India has been firmly opposed to any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, and under any circumstances. We strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons; and there can be no justification for their use,” he said.

However, he added any concern with regard to use of chemical weapons should be “addressed on the basis of consultation among all concerned parties. In our view, politicization of the issue is neither helpful nor productive.”

Appreciating the commitment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Technical Secretariat in performing its responsibilities during these challenging times of the pandemic, he said, “We have taken note of the findings mentioned in the two recent reports of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria.”

“We have also taken note that OPCW is in the process of analyzing the information collected from its most recent deployments for cases related to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. We note with satisfaction that three issues relating to Syria’s initial declaration have been resolved during the last six months,” India’s Permanent Representative said.

“We encourage continued engagement and cooperation between Syria and the OPCW Technical Secretariat towards an early resolution of all outstanding issues,” he said.

India has provided a financial contribution of US$ one million to the OPCW Trust Fund for activities relating to destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria.

India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.

“We have also contributed to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria through humanitarian assistance and human resource development,” India’s Permanent Representative said.

“We also remain supportive of both the Geneva and the Astana processes for an expeditious resolution of conflict in Syria,” he added.