Spec­tre of chem­i­cal weapons looms large

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK - Jayant Baran­wal Publisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

The spec­tre of chem­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons is real and it is not a re­cent phe­nom­e­non. We have seen the large-scale use of chem­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons in Iraq and now it is threat­en­ing to dis­turb peace, yet again, in the Mid­dle East with Syria be­ing the er­rant state. An­ni­hi­la­tion of peo­ple, be­cause of eth­nic dif­fer­ences, has been car­ried out by many regimes, us­ing dif­fer­ent meth­ods and chem­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons have been on the top. The Hal­abja chem­i­cal at­tack, also known as Hal­abja mas­sacre or Bloody Fri­day, was a geno­ci­dal mas­sacre against the Kur­dish peo­ple that took place in 1988. The at­tack re­port­edly killed about 5,000 peo­ple, most of them civil­ians.

Now Syria is in the eye of the storm hav­ing used chem­i­cal weapons, which ac­cord­ing to the United States has killed nearly 1,500 peo­ple. Even be­fore the United Na­tions con­firmed the use of chem­i­cal weapons, the US was all set to strike mil­i­tar­ily Syria which would have had wide­spread eco­nomic and geopo­lit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions. How­ever, that has been put on hold as ef­forts are on to ‘dis­arm’ Syria of its chem­i­cal weapons.

What all this in­di­cates is how war­fare has changed, tak­ing on dan­ger­ous pro­por­tions. The bat­tle­field is no longer con­fined to ge­og­ra­phy. It is be­yond. Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch in his fort­nightly col­umn dis­cusses how chem­i­cal weapons have come into play and how the US is keen on global polic­ing. Any mil­i­tary strike, he avers, is go­ing to have ad­verse eco­nomic con­se­quences for In­dia be­sides af­fect­ing the In­dian di­as­pora in the re­gion.

Also in this is­sue, the Gen­eral has ac­claimed the re­cent launch of GSAT-7, In­dia’s first mil­i­tary satel­lite. He opines that though many for­eign satel­lites on L Band have foot­prints over In­dia, use of a for­eign satel­lite for op­er­a­tional mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions raises le­git­i­mate ap­pre­hen­sions of se­cu­rity. The Gen­eral avers that we need to ex­am­ine whether to­tal mil­i­tary satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tions should be based on ex­clu­sive mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites or a mix of mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lites with ad­e­quate se­cu­rity keep­ing in mind China’s anti-satel­lite ca­pa­bil­ity that will likely tar­get ex­clu­sive mil­i­tary satel­lites more in times of war.

In SP’s Ex­clu­sives, we have a cou­ple of re­ports on the de­vel­op­ments hap­pen­ing in the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO), in­clud­ing the sea tri­als of the au­ton­o­mous un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cle, be­sides the ten­ders floated by the In­dian Coast Guard and the In­dian Army or­der for anti-tank guided mis­siles.

We have re­port on DSEi (De­fence Se­cu­rity and Equip­ment In­ter­na­tional) held in Lon­don, which to date brought to­gether over 30,000 of the global de­fence and se­cu­rity in­dus­try to source the lat­est equip­ment and sys­tems, de­velop in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships, and gen­er­ate new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. DSEi is in­creas­ingly be­ing seen as the place to do busi­ness in the global de­fence and se­cu­rity mar­ket. With an un­ri­valled range of sup­pli­ers from 56 coun­tries, DSEi has be­come a truly global event for de­fence equip­ment pro­cure­ment. In­dian com­pa­nies too show­cased their ware at the In­dia pavil­ion.

We look for­ward to your feed­back as it will help us sharpen our cov­er­age of news and anal­y­sis.

Happy Read­ing!

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