From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : INF Treaty
Mains level : Impact of US withdrawl from INF Treaty
- The U.S. and Russia ripped up a Cold War-era missile pact in a move that raised the spectre of an arms race between the global superpowers.
- The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
- Under the INF treaty, the US and formerly Soviet Union agreed not to develop, produce, possess or deploy any ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles that have a range between 500 and 5,500 km.
- It exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range.
- The INF treaty helped address the fears of an imminent nuclear war in Europe.
- It also built some trust between Washington and Moscow and contributed to the end of the Cold War.
Loopholes in the treaty
- It left the other nuclear weapon powers free to develop ground-based intermediate-range forces
- In the age of nuclear superpowers, it did not seem to matter.
- Since then, many countries have developed missiles in the range of 500 to 5,500 km, including India, Pakistan and North Korea.
- Nearly 90 per cent of China’s vast missile armoury — estimated at around 2,000 rockets — is in the intermediate range and would be illegal if Beijing were to be a part of the INF treaty.
Row over a missile
- Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up.
- The missile has a range of about 1,500 kilometres according to NATO, though Moscow says it can only travel 480 kilometres.
- Russia had failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system.