India Chemical Facilities
India Chemical Facilities
Want to dive deeper?
A high level of secrecy surrounds India's chemical warfare (CW) program, making it difficult to determine the exact number of chemical weapons facilities and organizations involved. India publicly acknowledged that it had a CW program after ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997, but information on its chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities remains strictly confidential. Under the CWC, India has declared three chemical weapon production facilities (CWPFs), two chemical weapon storage facilities (CWSFs), and two chemical weapon destruction facilities (CWDFs). India has also declared one Schedule 1 facility, four Schedule 2 facilities, 30 Schedule 3 facilities, and 19 discrete organic chemicals (DOC) facilities in its industry declaration.
Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversees the implementation of the CWC, have conducted routine inspections at a number of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) facilities involved in chemical weapon production, including sites in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh; at Ojhar, near Nashik, Maharashtra; and at Ozra (location unknown). India has been more forthcoming about its chemical defense facilities. At least four government-owned facilities are involved in some type of chemical defense activity. Since 11 September 2001, and the anthrax attacks in the United States, there has been an increasing interest in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defense in India, and a number of NBC-related courses have been established in both the government and private sectors.
Control over India's CW program officially starts with the government of India, which is responsible for ensuring the country's defense. Although the office of the president is nominally in command of the armed forces, the executive responsibility for national defense and for the CW program rests with the Union Cabinet headed by the prime minister. The next level down is the Raksha Mantri (defense minister). Within the Ministry of Defense, the CW program is overseen by the Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D), which is headed by a secretary, who is also the scientific adviser to the Defense Minister. The main function of the DDR&D is the formulation of research, design, and development plans for equipment used by the three military services. Reporting to the DDR&D is the Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), which administers the government laboratories working in the CW area.
The government-owned facilities involved in CW research, manufacturing, testing, and other related activities are located in various states throughout India. Two key DRDO facilities involved in CW defense research include the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, and the Defence Materials & Stores Research & Development Establishment (DMSRDE), in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. A number of other DRDO facilities, including the Research & Development Establishment (Engineering) (R&DE), in Pune, Maharashtra, and the Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE), in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, also participate in chemical defense research. The DRDO laboratories interact with a number of academic institutions across India, including the Indian Institutes of Technology, and work closely with the private sector for the manufacture of DRDO laboratory-produced technologies. The DRDO laboratory in Gwalior is also a regional training center for the OPCW. Chemical defense-related activities also occur outside the DRDO within the three military services: The Indian government has set up NBC warfare directorates in the Army, located in Pune, Maharashtra; the Navy, at INS Shivaji, in Lonavla, Maharashtra; and the Air Force, in Chandigarh.
 Defence Research and Development Organisation, "DRDO — An Organisation of the Ministry of Defence," www.drdo.com;
 Defence Research and Development Organisation, "Site Map," www.drdo.com;
 Rezaul H. Laskar, "DRDO gears up to counter bio-terrorism," 15 October 2001, www.rediff.com.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on nuclear and biological threats.
- Chemical Weapon (CW)
- The CW: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons defines a chemical weapon as any of the following: 1) a toxic chemical or its precursors; 2) a munition specifically designed to deliver a toxic chemical; or 3) any equipment specifically designed for use with toxic chemicals or munitions. Toxic chemical agents are gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical substances that use their toxic properties to cause death or severe harm to humans, animals, and/or plants. Chemical weapons include blister, nerve, choking, and blood agents, as well as non-lethal incapacitating agents and riot-control agents. Historically, chemical weapons have been the most widely used and widely proliferated weapon of mass destruction.
- Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
- The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires each state party to declare and destroy all the chemical weapons (CW) and CW production facilities it possesses, or that are located in any place under its jurisdiction or control, as well as any CW it abandoned on the territory of another state. The CWC was opened for signature on 13 January 1993, and entered into force on 29 April 1997. For additional information, see the CWC.
- Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
- The OPCW: Based in The Hague, the Netherlands, the OPCW is responsible for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). All countries ratifying the CWC become state parties to the CWC, and make up the membership of the OPCW. The OPCW meets annually, and in special sessions when necessary. For additional information, see the OPCW.
- Anthrax Attacks
- Anthrax Attacks: Refers to the 2001 mailing of a total of seven letters containing anthrax to several U.S. news outlets and the offices of two U.S. senators. These attacks killed five and sickened 17. The investigation of the attacks by an FBI-led task force is known as Amerithrax.