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The NPT is beginning to look shaky

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings involving India and affecting India’s interest, the impact of nuclear treaties etc

Source: The Hindu


Direction: This is an editorial piece. Go through it once. Know the basics about NPT.


The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded last week in New York.


What is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

  • The NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons including three elements:
    • Non-proliferation
    • Disarmament
    • Peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • The treaty was signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970.
  • The Treaty does not affect the right of state parties to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew.


NPT’s success and weakness:


  • Consensus document: Since 1970, when the NPT entered into force, only four of the 10 review conferences have concluded with a consensus document.
  • Differences among members: the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia were earlier always on the same page, but now Russia has adopted a different point of view.
    • The difference in 2022 was that it pitched Russia against the West.
  • No discussions: No meaningful discussions or negotiations on nuclear disarmament have ever taken place in the NPT framework.
  • Withdrawal from ABM treaty: S withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002 on the grounds that it unduly constrained its missile defence activities.
  • US withdrawal from INF: In 2019, the U.S. decided to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
    • It had obliged both the US and Russia to get rid of all ground-launched missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km.



  • Talks between the US and Russia: Arms control talks between the U.S. and Russia did take place and succeeded in bringing collective arsenals from about 65,000 in the early 1980s to less than 12,000
  • Four countries have tested and developed nuclear arsenals: In the last 50 years, only four more countries have gone on to test and develop nuclear arsenals — India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan, despite apprehensions that by the 1980s, there would be close to 25 nuclear powers.
  • Reagan-Gorbachev declaration: All that the five nuclear-weapon-states parties to the NPT reiterated at the conference., the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev declaration that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’.


Nuclear modernisation:

  • S.’s 30-year nuclear modernisation programme: Intended to provide ‘credible deterrence against regional aggression.
  • Russia and China: They are developing hypersonic delivery systems that evade missile defences as well as larger missiles that do not need to travel over the Arctic.
    • Also developing nuclear torpedoes and new cruise missiles.
  • Developments in space and cyber domains: They are blurring the line between conventional and nuclear weapons, leading to nuclear entanglement and rendering command and control systems vulnerable.


Key Treaties:


Current Affairs

Note: India has not sighed NPT or CTBT as it terms them as discriminatory.


Insta Links:



Mains Links:

Q. The newly tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario.(UPSC 2021)


Prelims Links:

  • NPT
  • PTBT
  • CTBT
  • INF Treaty
  • ABM treaty
  • P5


Consider the following countries:(UPSC 2015)

  1. China
  2. France
  3. India
  4. Israel
  5. Pakistan

Which among the above are Nuclear Weapons States as recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

  • 1 and 2 only
  • 1, 3, 4 and 5 only
  • 2, 4 and 5 only
  • 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (a)


  • The objective of the Non-Proliferation treaty is to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further achieve the goal of nuclear disarmament.
  • Nuclear-weapon states (NWS) consist of the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom