General Knowledge Current Affairs

Showing posts with label International Atomic Energy Agency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Atomic Energy Agency. Show all posts

Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The NPT was signed in 1968, but it came into force in 1970 after the required number of countries signed and ratified it. It has been signed by 187 countries so far. It has eleven articles. It divides the countries into two categories - nuclear weapon states (NWS), having nuclear weapons (US, UK, China, France, and Russia) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). According to the provisions of the treaty, the NNWS shall not acquire and develop nuclear weapons. The NWS shall not transfer the nuclear technology to the NNWS. However, the NNWS may get the nuclear material and technology for peaceful purposes under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

There is no ban on the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons by the NWS. Vertical proliferation means the upgradation of nuclear weapons by the NWS. On the other hand, horizontal proliferation means the development of such weapons by the NNWS. Thus, the NPT allows vertical proliferation but bans horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons and it is considered discriminatory by many countries including India.

Article 6 of the treaty commits the NWS they start and complete negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament in exchange for the promise by the NNWS not to acquire weapons. The negotiations so far have not succeeded in achieving the goal of universal disarmament. India, Pakistan, and Israel have not signed the treaty and in 2003 North Korea withdrew from the treaty. Thus, non-proliferation, disarma¬ment, and peaceful use of nuclear energy are considered the three pillars of NPT. The US, Russia, UK, China, and France all may continue to develop their nuclear weapons and thereby undermine the treaty by not living up to their obligations under Article 6. The NPT is valid for a period of 25 years and after that, it shall be reviewed every 5 years. It was reviewed in 1995, 2000, and 2010 and was extended indefinitely in 1995.

The third review conference was held in New York on 3-28 May 2010. The 2010 review conference expressed the re-commitment of nations to the basic principle of NPT. The conference called upon all Middle Eastern states to participate in the proposed weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East. The Conference decided to put in place specific action plans for the non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. There are fears that the NPT regime will fall apart due to combined vertical proliferation in nuclear weapon states and the proliferation of weapons to new states, most recently North Korea.

India, Pakistan, and Israel have not signed the NPT so far. However, North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003. India declined to sign this treaty as she considered it as discriminatory.