Nations had been negotiating a Verification Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in Geneva for much of the last decade to balance the needs of international security with national sovereignty, and transparency against commercial secrecy.
There was also the conundrum of accommodating advances in biotechnology due to genetic engineering and emerging technologies within the BTWC.
At this critical juncture, when the need for a Verification Protocol was the greatest, the United States scuttled these negotiations leading to their being suspended, without a clear vision of what alternative arrangements might be provided.
The United States wanted these negotiations to be postponed until 2006. The essays in this book address issues like anxieties in the biotech industry that a verification regime would compromise secrecy, whether the verification arrangements in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) could be extended to the BTWC, and the imperative for States to enact domestic legislation for implementing the BTWC.
Two essays explore the future dangers of bioterrorism, the threat posed by biological weapons, and the defence possible against them. The likely endgame in Geneva is speculated upon in one essay.
Two case studies have also been added that deals with the plague epidemics in Surat (1994) and Himachal Pradesh (2002), and the anthrax mail attacks in the U.S. following 9/11. These essays will illuminate the issues underlying the need for a verification regime to strengthen the BTWC, and enlarge an understanding of India's position on these critical issues.