Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Russia blocks agreement on Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Mains level: Read the attached story

Russia has blocked the agreement on the final document of a four-week review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Why in news?

  • The NPT review conference is supposed to be held every five years but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This marked the second failure of its 191 state parties to produce an outcome document.
  • The last review conference in 2015 ended without an agreement because of serious differences over establishing a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

About Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • Between 1965 and 1968, the treaty was negotiated by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, a United Nations-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Opened for signature in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is
  1. To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology
  2. To promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and
  3. To further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament
  • The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States (1945), Russia (1949), the United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964).

Non-members of the treaty

  • Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which possess or are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan.
  • In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.

Issues in Nuclear Disarmament

  • Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
  • Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.

Why didn’t India join NPT?

  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
  • India maintains that they are selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimised the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers.

India’s commitment for de-nuclearization

India has always batted for a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.

  • It has outlined a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
  • India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group (but has signed off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)).
  • India has expressed its readiness to support the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
  • India couldn’t join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to several concerns raised by India.
  • India has piloted an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which is adopted by consensus.

Way forward

  • India has actively supported and contributed to the strengthening of the global nuclear security architecture.
  • There is a need for the international community to pay closer attention to the illicit proliferation of networks of nuclear weapons, their delivery systems, components and relevant technologies.
  • India hopes that the international community will continue to work towards realising our collective aspiration for a nuclear weapon-free world.


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