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New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)

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New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features, significance, targets and the need for the treaty, overview of INF treaty.

Context: Russia has observed that there was no longer enough time left for Moscow and Washington to negotiate a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty before it expires in February 2021. 


The New START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy.

The fate of the accord has been in the spotlight since Washington in August pulled out of another landmark strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies.

About New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty):

  • It is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
  • Signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.
  • Replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was to expire in December 2012.

Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.


Under terms of the treaty:

  1. Number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half.
  2. A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism.
  3. The number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads is limited to 1,550.
  4. Number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 800 will be limited.


Timeline to meet these Targets:

These obligations must be met within seven years from the date the treaty enters into force. The treaty will last ten years, with an option to renew it for up to five years upon agreement of both parties.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty:

INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.

  • 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.


Sources: the Hindu.