CSS 2019 International Relations Question: Discuss the development of the ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ (NPT). Define its main features and explain its status in the present world?
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is an international treaty which aims at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. It was signed by the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and 59 other states, under which three major signatories, which possessed nuclear weapons agreed not to help other states in producing them. It entered into force in 1970 and 190 states have subscribed so far. It covers elements which include disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Development of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The early postwar efforts to achieve agreement on nuclear disarmament failed. The Soviet Union in 1949, the United Kingdom in 1952, France in 1960 and China in 1964, became nuclear-weapon states. Developments underlined the threat of nuclear proliferation. A succession of initiatives began in 1950 by nuclear and non-nuclear powers sought to check proliferation. Overall agenda of NPT started with the UK, the Soviet Union and the U.S. agree to provide assistance to nonnuclear weapon NPT members in their recreation of peaceful nuclear energy. They agreed to conduct future negotiations to stop the nuclear arms race and reduce their nuclear weapons with the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.
Main Features of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
1. All parties affirmed the principle that benefits of applications of nuclear technology should be available for peaceful purposes to all parties, whether nuclear or non-nuclear states.
2. All parties to this treaty are entitled to participate, in exchange of scientific information and to contribute alone or in co-operation with other states to the development of the application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
3. Benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions should be available to non-nuclear weapon states which are party to the treaty on a non-discriminatory basis.
4. Declared intention was to achieve at the earliest date, the end of the nuclear arms race, urging co-operation of all states in the attainment of this objective.
Status of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Present World
India was in the news for application as membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a network of 48 countries that aims at preventing nuclear proliferation by controlling import and export of material that can be used in the development of nuclear power. China and other countries were in opposition to India’s membership in NSG. With constant conflicts with major nuclear powers, i.e. China and Pakistan. India cannot give up its status of nuclear power. India and Pakistan have criticized
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as discriminatory, Indian diplomat once famously mourning that NPT had led to “nuclear apartheid.” Both initiated their nuclear programs and tested nuclear weapons in 1998. Moreover, states including Iran, Israel, USA, India, Pakistan and North Korea are still seeking nuclear capabilities. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has been effective in preventing states from seeking nuclear weapons as a deal was signed between nuclear states. The deal was that assistance and cooperation would be traded for commitment, backed by international inspection, that no plant or material would be diverted to weapons’ use. Those who refused to be part of the deal would be excluded from international cooperation or a trade involving nuclear technology.
Nuclear powers continue to maintain and increase their nuclear arsenals. In order to calm non-nuclear weapon states who wanted to put pressure on nuclear powers for moving towards arms control, a list of disarmament goals was attached to extension decision. The NPT has been on part of the P-5 to intact their superior N-weapon status and impose a non-proliferation regime on non-nuclear nations. After extension of NPT in 1995, the next attempt to check proliferation in favor of non-proliferation came in 1996 as the formulation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
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