Is denuclearization of the world possible?

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The recent push to abolish all nuclear weapons from the world is truly welcome, but nuclear-weapon states are hardly budging from their positions.

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Is denuclearization of the world possible?



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  1. Thou shall not proliferate : Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed 1968, came into force 1970. With 189 member states, it attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The treaty has three main pillars: nonproliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  2. CTBT : The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. Though violations have indeed happened, but largely it has had the desired effect.
  3. Total denuclearization : In March 2017 at the UN, diplomats of 130 countries started formal talks on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The aim of the treaty is to declare it illegal for any country to produce, possess, stockpile, deploy, and threaten to use or use nuclear weapons. An umbrella movement pushing this is the ICAN – International Campaign to abolishing nuclear weapons.
  4. Sorry, not for us! None of the nine nuclear weapon countries including India and Pakistan participated in the talks. The nuclear weapons ban talks are the fulfillment of a long standing demand that all countries deserve equal security. The unequal nature of things today cannot be allowed to go on.
  5. Ultimate WMDs : The first resolution passed in 1946 at the UN called for a plan for the elimination of atomic weapons from national armaments. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate means of mass destruction which brings enormous sufferings. The November 1961 UN General Assembly resolution declared that any state using nuclear and thermonuclear weapons is to be considered as violating the Charter of the United Nations, as acting against the laws of humanity and as committing a crime against mankind and civilization.
  6. Cold War and the heat of struggles : During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union argued that was in a life and death situation and nuclear weapons were a necessity. The end of the Cold War offered the hope of a new start.  The UN General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on the legality of of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.
  7. ICJ advises : In July 1996, the court issued an advisory opinion with two key conclusions – first, the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the rules of international law, and second, that there exists an obligation to pursue and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict international control. In the 20 years since the court judgment, nuclear weapon countries have refused to comply.
  8. Them versus the Rest : Non-nuclear states and peace movement activists launched an international effort to the mass destruction caused by nuclear weapons. At the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, 158 countries participated. This process led to the adoption of a historic resolution at the UN in October 2016 to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination.
  9. Deep Dive : Read more on related topic - India's defence preparedness here
  10. India abstains : India abstained from voting saying that the nuclear disarmament talks should happen only at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva since the Conference on Disarmament works on consensus meaning that any state can block progress. India used this to try to block the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996. India faces a real twin-threat from Pakistan and China combination, and its chances of giving up the nukes is close to zero.
  11. We shall not wait : Most of the other nuclear states insisted that the world should wait for them to decide when they are ready to give up their nuclear weapons. Instead waiting for that day, the nuclear weapon-free countries decided to take the matter forward. Their first step is the ban treaty.
  12. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence Booster series of learning resources, here! For developing your word power, go to our Vocabulary Boosters here
  13. Download Resources : Also, download many PDFs on defence and military from our Bodhi Resources page here



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Bodhi Saar: Is denuclearization of the world possible?
Is denuclearization of the world possible?
The recent push to abolish all nuclear weapons from the world is truly welcome, but nuclear-weapon states are hardly budging from their positions.
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Bodhi Saar
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