Print Friendly, PDF & Email

U.S. destroys last of its declared chemical weapons


Source: TH

Context: The United States has completed the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile (rockets filled with GB nerve agent), marking a significant milestone in the history of warfare dating back to World War I.


The deadline:

The U.S. faced a Sept. 30 deadline to eliminate its remaining chemical weapons under the International Chemical Weapons Convention, which took effect in 1997 and was joined by 193 countries.



  • The destruction of the stockpile is seen as a defining moment for arms control efforts globally and sets an example for other countries to follow.
  • This achievement fulfils the US commitment under the International Chemical Weapons Convention and sends a message that such weapons are no longer acceptable on the battlefield.


About the Convention: 

Chemical Weapons Convention is a multilateral treaty banning chemical weapons and requiring their destruction within the stipulated time. It makes it mandatory to destroy old and abandoned chemical weapons.

  • India signed the treaty in January 1993.
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was formed (in 1997) under the Convention. It implements and enforces the terms of the CWC. It reports to the UN. It was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2013


India passed Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 to implement the CWC.

It provided for the establishment of a National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention or NACWC (formed in 2005), as a chief liaison between the government of India and the OPCW.


About GB nerve agent:

Sarin (military designation GB) is a nerve agent (chemicals that affect the nervous system) that is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents. It is generally odourless and tasteless. Exposure to sarin can cause death in minutes. Other examples of nerve agents are: soman (GD), tabun (GA), Mustard agent and VX


About Chemical Weapons:

Chemical weapons were first used in modern warfare in World War I, where they were estimated to have killed at least 100,000. Despite their use being subsequently banned by the Geneva Convention, countries continued to stockpile the weapons until the treaty called for their destruction. Besides US stocks, some parties to the convention, particularly Russia and Syria, still possess undeclared chemical weapons stockpiles.