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New START Treaty


Days before the first anniversary of the beginning of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin announced in an address to his nation that Russia is suspending its participation in the New START, the last remaining major military agreement with the United States.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About New START Treaty
  2. When did the process of nuclear disarmament begin?
  3. Why Russia Suspended the Inspection?
  4. What are the various Treaties signed Between USA & Russia?

About New START Treaty

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) pact, which limits the number of nuclear warheads, missiles, and bombers deployed, is set to expire in 2021 unless renewed.
  • The treaty limits the United States and Russia to a total of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, which is well below Cold War limits.
  • Former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed it in 2010.
  • It is one of the most important constraints on the deployment of nuclear weapons by superpowers.
The History of US-Russia Nuclear Relations
  • The United States formally abandons its intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF)
  • The agreement required the two countries to eliminate all ground-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

What limits did the New START impose on the two countries?

  • The central limits of the treaty that the US and Russia met by February 5, 2018, and have adhered to since then are:
    • 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
    • 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
    • 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

When did the process of nuclear disarmament begin?

  • In 1985, the two countries began arms control talks on three fronts.
  • The first dealt with strategic weapons with ranges of more than 5,500 kilometres, resulting in the START treaty in 1991.
  • Both sides were limited to 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads.
  • A second track dealt with intermediate-range missiles, which resulted in the 1987 INF Treaty.
  • A third track, Nuclear and Space Talks, was intended to address Soviet concerns about the United States’ Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), but it produced no results.

What are the various Treaties signed Between USA & Russia?

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks-1(SALT):
  • It began in 1969, Under the Interim Agreement, both sides pledged not to construct new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos, not to increase the size of existing ICBM silos significantly, and capped the number of Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) launch tubes and SLBM-carrying submarines.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-1 (START):
  • Signed in 1991, the agreement required the destruction of excess delivery vehicles which was verified using an intrusive verification regime that involved on-site inspections, the regular exchange of information (including telemetry), and the use of national technical means (i.e., satellites).
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-2:
  • Signed in 1993, called for reducing deployed strategic arsenals to 3,000-3,500 warheads and banned the deployment of destabilizing multiple-warhead land-based missiles.
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT):
  • Signed in 2004, under which the United States and Russia reduced their strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads each.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START):
  • Signed in 2010, a legally binding, verifiable agreement that limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 strategic delivery systems (ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers) and limits deployed and nondeployed launchers to 800.

-Source: Indian Express

July 2024