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Russia Opposes The Adoption of the N-Disarmament Text

Context

  • Russia obstructed agreement on the final document of a four-week review of the United Nations Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT).
  • The NPT, regarded as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament, is reviewed every five years by the 191 signatories.

Relevance

GS Paper 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Mains Question

Discuss India’s major reservations about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). (150 Words)


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • The NPT is an international treaty whose goal is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to advance the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty represents the nuclear-weapon States’ only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty has been signed by 191 countries, including the five nuclear-weapon states.
    • South Sudan, India, Pakistan, and Israel have all opted out of the NPT.
    • North Korea signed the NPT in 1985 but left in 2003.

Important provisions

  • The Treaty defines nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those that had previously manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device. As a result, all other states are considered non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).
  • China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the five nuclear weapon states.
  • The Treaty has no bearing on states’ rights to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

States’ Role

  • Nuclear weapon states are not to transfer nuclear weapons to any recipient, nor are they to assist, encourage, or induce any NNWS to manufacture or otherwise acquire them.
  • Non-nuclear weapon states are not permitted to receive nuclear weapons from any transferor, nor are they permitted to manufacture or acquire them.
  • All nuclear materials on NNWS’s territories or under their control must be subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

Important characteristics

  • The Treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
  • The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s responsibility (IAEA).
  • Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through IAEA inspections.
  • The Treaty’s provisions call for a five-year review of the Treaty’s operation.
  • The original term of the treaty was 25 years, but it was extended indefinitely at a review conference in 1995.

The NPT was a success.

  • With the adherence of 191 countries, the NPT is close to universal world participation.
  • It is still unique in that no other international agreement is based on a bargain between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • Under the supervision of the IAEA, the Treaty facilitates cooperation on peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
  • It is credited with establishing the non-proliferation norm, which is responsible for keeping the number of countries armed with nuclear weapons below ten.
  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has failed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
  • NPT in its current form attempts to prevent horizontal proliferation but is incapable of preventing vertical proliferation.
    • Failure to prevent horizontal spreading is evident in Iran, Libya, and North Korea.
  • There are nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons still in existence, many of which are on high alert and far more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
  • There is no adherence to the treaty that is honest. Many countries, including Brazil, South Africa, Iran, and Iraq, continued clandestine (secret) nuclear programmes after joining the NPT.
  • Today, the NPT is a treaty that protects the rights of five nuclear weapon states. These countries are aiding in the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • Following a four-week UN conference on a nuclear disarmament treaty known as the NPT, Russia prevented the adoption of a joint declaration.
  • Russia had one major objection to certain paragraphs that, according to Russian officials, were obviously political in nature.
    • The most recent draught text expressed grave concern about military activities in the vicinity of Ukrainian power plants, including Zaporizhzhia.
  • Because of the possibility of reactor damage, the shelling around these plants has heightened fears of nuclear radiation.
    • Russia objected to this paragraph concerning the occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia by the Russian military.

Why India has not signed NPT yet?

  • Failure of the Disarmament Process: The NPT proposes no tangible disarmament roadmap, no mention of a testing ban or a freeze on the production of fissile materials or nuclear weapons, and no provisions for reductions and elimination.
  • Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: India accuses the treaty of being discriminatory because it focuses only on preventing horizontal proliferation while leaving no room for vertical proliferation.
  • In this context, India demands that Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) renounce their arsenals and cease further production in exchange for Non-NWS commitments not to produce them.
  • Discriminating Safeguards: Under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safety protocols, the NWS was allowed to maintain ‘voluntary’ safeguards while the rest were subjected to comprehensive safeguards, which the NNWS found intrusive and discriminatory.
  • The emergence of non-state actors with declared intent to access weapons of mass destruction, as well as the discovery of a global nuclear black market, has raised concerns about the NPT’s limitations.

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September 2022
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