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International Procedures and Systems of Export Controls of Materials, Equipments and Technology related to Biological Weapons

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  • January 07, 2011
    Fellows' Seminar

    Chairperson: Shri P R Chari
    Discussants: Dr B M Gandhi and Dr Moushumi Basu

    The paper describes the existing procedures and systems of international export controls of materials, equipments and technology related to biological weapons. The author states that Export controls “are tools to ensure that trade flows consistently with treaty obligations embodied in the relevant control regimes, which is to stay away from states with weapons programs and toward those with commercial, peaceful interests”. Exports include agents, equipments and expertise and intangible transfer of knowledge. The major conclusions of the author were that export control of materials and technology related to biological weapons, in place of being an appropriate response to the advances in biological sciences, has been a function of security perceptions of states. Secondly, policy decision regarding export controls must take inputs from the relevant stakeholders; most importantly the biological scientific enterprise and finally export controls remain the most essential element in an overall strategy to limit the spread of biological weapons.

    The major points of discussions and suggestions to the author:

    • Study the impact of these treaties on other countries,
    • Introduce the other systems and treaties in the introduction,
    • Discuss the export controls in India with other developed countries and compare them,
    • Further discuss dual use of Biological Weapons and their use by state as well as non-state actors,
    • States are conscious about their commercial interests,
    • Verification is the major problem area,
    • Biological items are inherently dual use in nature and thus there is a need for a more effective control mechanism,
    • Need to add some discussion on UNSC Resolution 1540,
    • Export controls affect development of R&D in Developing countries,
    • Globalization will lead to loosening of state controls.

    Report prepared by Gunjan Singh, Research Assistant, IDSA

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