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CBRN Weapons


An ongoing Indo-US joint exercise, named TARKASH, has for the first time included “Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response” in its drill.


GS III: Security challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About TARKASH
  2. About CBRN weapons


  • TARKASH is a joint exercise conducted by the National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • The exercise has included a drill for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response in light of the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Sources state that the CBRN terror response drill involved IAF helicopters inserting small teams into the target area, successful intervention in a large auditorium, rescue of hostages, and neutralization of the chemical agent weapon.
  • The exercise also featured a mock drill for terrorist organizations armed with chemical agents and threatening to attack a convention hall during an international summit.
  • The objective of the joint exercise was to rapidly neutralize the terrorists, rescue hostages safely, and deactivate the chemical weapons carried by the terrorists.

About CBRN weapons

  • CBRN weapons, or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, have the potential to cause mass casualties and disruption, and are classified as weapons of mass destruction.
  • Chemical weapons include mustard gas and nerve agents, while biological agents include anthrax and botulinum toxin. Radiological weapons include nuclear weapons and dirty bombs.
Historical Use
  • CBRN weapons have been used by several countries and terrorist organisations.
  • The first instance of their use can be traced back to World War I.
  • After the war, countries came together to sign the Geneva Protocol to prohibit the use of these weapons.
  • However, numerous countries violated the treaty, including Italy in Ethiopia, Nazi Germany in concentration camps, and the US in Vietnam.
  • Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran and its Kurdish minority during the Iran-Iraq war.
Recent Use
  • In 2013, the Syrian army carried out a sarin gas attack against civilians during the Syrian Civil War, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
  • The attack highlighted the continued use of these weapons despite international prohibitions.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024