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2) Existing nuclear arms control agreements need to be brought in line with today’s political realities. Comment in the context of the recent withdrawal of US from INF treaty.(250 words)

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Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

2) Existing nuclear arms control agreements need to be brought in line with today’s political realities. Comment in the context of the recent withdrawal of US from INF treaty.(250 words)

The hindu

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the recent US withdrawal from INF agreement and express our opinion as to why existing nuclear arms control agreements need to be brought in line with today’s political realities. However, we can also form an opinion against the statement. But our opinion has to be based on substantial and valid facts/ arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  INF agreement (signed in 1987, Under the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to eliminate within three years all ground-launched-missiles of 500-5,500 km range and not to develop, produce or deploy these in future)  and recent withdrawal of US from INF agreement.

Body-

Discuss why the withdrawal of US from INF does not have much significance today. E.g The U.S.’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) reflects a harsher assessment of the security environment faced by the U.S. and envisages a more expansive role for nuclear weapons than in the past. Russia is blamed for seeking the break-up of NATO and a re-ordering of ‘European and Middle East security and economic structures in its favour’. China is identified for the first time as a strategic competitor seeking regional hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region in the near-term and ‘displacement of the U.S. to achieve global pre-eminence in the future’; Even more worrisome are developments that blur the line between nuclear and conventional weapons. In order to lessen its dependence on nuclear weapons, the U.S. developed layered missile defences and conventional Prompt Global Strike (PGS) capabilities that use conventional payloads against strategic targets. Other countries have responded with hypersonics and a shift to lower yield tactical warheads. With growing dependence on space-based and cyber systems, such asymmetric approaches only increase the risks of accidental and inadvertent nuclear escalation; The key difference with today’s return of major power rivalry is that it is no longer a bipolar world, and nuclear arms control is no longer governed by a single binary equation. There are multiple nuclear equations — U.S.-Russia, U.S.-China, U.S.-North Korea, India-Pakistan, India-China, but none is standalone. Therefore, neither nuclear stability nor strategic stability in today’s world can be ensured by the U.S. and Russia alone and this requires us to think afresh etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.