• Proposes to submit a legal framework to the United Nations and the Prime Minister’s office to address the issue
• Pushes for the strengthening of institutions of global importance
• Documents views and recommendations of scholars for Public interest and policy-making for ensuring a safe and sustainable future
India, June 26, 2020 – The threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism is a burning issue worldwide, especially when the entire globe is fighting against COVID-19 pandemic. There have been multiple speculations which have been raised regarding the origin of the virus, some claiming it to be a trigger for biological warfare. The current escalating border tensions between our country and China, the volatile relationship with other neighbouring countries, increased threat of terrorism, calls for an urgent need to evaluate the threat posed by bio/chemical weapons. The two important bodies BWC and BWCO (Biological Weapons Convention and Organisation) which are responsible for getting rid of weapons of mass destruction, unfortunately, do not hold an authority to abolish any decision.
To draw light on this issue MIT World Peace University, India’s premium educational institute, conducted a four day virtual International Conference on Eradication of biological and chemical weapons. The conference saw active participation from across the globe with more than 20,000 plus particpants. Through this conference, the University aimed to spread awareness and awaken the youth against bio-warfare. The conference also focussed on its end goal of establishing a legal discourse towards curbing research and development of such weapons.
Expressing his view on the current scenario, Prof. Dr. Vishwanath D. Karad - Founder President, MIT World Peace University said “The COVID-19 pandemic has created utmost disruption in our mundane lives. Many do speculate that the breakout of the virus was purposely indented to take over world supremacy. Sadly, due to some nation’s greed we humans are the ones who suffer the most. We should all take an oath to work towards peace and harmony rather than fighting against each other”.
Echoing his sentiments, Rahul V. Karad, Vice President – MAEER’s MIT Group, Executive President –MIT WPU, founder – BCS, MITSOG, NTC, NWP, Sarpanch Sandsad said “ We all know that COVID-19 pandemic has brought our lives to a standstill, it high time that we rethink the way the world functions. As an educational institute dedicated to the idea of world peace, we staunchly believe in working towards the eradication of biochemical weapon. Through this International conference, the agenda was to create awareness and preparedness, by bringing people from various countries together to evolve a mechanism which will help in the elimination of biowarfare.”
Speaking on the conference Dr. N T Rao, Vice chancellor, MIT-WPU said “In this International Conference various intellectual minds have come together to appeal to the United Nations
to destroy this impending threat caused by chemical and biological weapons. At MIT WPU, believers of world peace collectively speak, deliberate and come to a conclusion and pass the resolution for the betterment of the world “.
“We are very glad that, through this conference we were able to reach out to the youth of the nation and most importantly sensitize them towards the threat against bio-chemical weapons. With the support and participation of a host of eminent spokespeople across the globe, we’ve had successfully submitted a plea to the United Nations and the Prime Minister’s office and we stay committed towards taking this to a logical conclusion,” concludes Pravin V Patil, CEO, Centre for Industry – Academia Partnerships, MIT- WPU said
The four day-long virtual conferences, saw many eminent spokespeople/ leaders across fields deliberating, discussing and sharing their expertise on different aspects of biowarfare and havejointly contributed towards creating a legal framework. Some of the prominent personalities were Hon’ble Justice K. G. Balakrishnan - Former Chief Justice of India, Former Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), Hon’ble Dr. Rajendra Singh - Well Known Water Conservationist (Waterman of India) & Chairman, Tarun Bharat Sangh, Hon’ble G V V Sarma, , IAS, Member secretary , National disaster management authority Government of India , Hon’ble, Dr.A. Velumani - Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Thyrocare Technologies Ltd. & Former Scientist, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Founder and Managing Director, Nuclear Healthcare Ltd. (NHL), Hon’ble Shri. Arif Mohammed Khan - Hon'ble Governor of Kerala, Former Cabinet Minister, Energy and Civil Aviation, Govt. of India, Hon’ble Prof. Dr. Atanu Basu - Director Grade Scientist G, ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Department of Health Research, Min of Health & FW, Govt of India & Adjunct Professor, School of Life Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi. Hon’ble Adv. Salman Khurshid- Senior Advocat, Former Union Minister for External Affairs, Law & Justice, Minority Affairs, Government of India
Key conclusions drawn from the conference:
• A bio-warfare attack would not only cause sickness and death in a large number of victims but would also aim to create fear, panic, and paralyzing uncertainty.
• Its goal is the disruption of social and economic activity, the breakdown of government authority, and the impairment of military responses.
• Eg. : “Anthrax letters” in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre attack in September 2001, and COVID19 in 2020, the occurrence of only a small number of infections can create an enormous psychological impact-everyone feels threatened and nobody knows what will happen next.
• The medical community, as well as the public, should become familiar with epidemiology and control measures to increase the likelihood of a calm and reasoned response if an outbreak should occur.
• For the medical community, further education focusing on recognition of this threat is both timely and necessary.
• Primary prevention rests on creating a strong global norm that rejects the rat race for the development of such weapons.
• Secondary prevention implies early detection and prompt treatment of disease. The medical community plays an important role in secondary prevention by participating in disease surveillance and reporting and thus providing the first indication of biological weapons use.
• Continued research to improve surveillance and the search for improved diagnostic capabilities, therapeutic agents, and effective response plans will further strengthen secondary prevention measure.