'Fewer but Newer' Nuclear Arms: SIPRI
- 18 Jun 2019
- 4 min read
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has reported that the world is witnessing less nuclear arms but with modernising and increasing size.
- At the start of 2019, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea had a total of some 13,865 nuclear weapons with a decrease of 600 from previous year.
- The drop in recent years can mainly be attributed to the US and Russia, whose combined arsenals still make up more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
- It is partly a result of the New START treaty – that was signed between the United States and the Russian Federation in 2010 which puts a cap on the number of deployed warheads as well as getting rid of obsolete warheads from the Cold War era.
- There is a concern on the future of treaty as it will expire in 2021 and there is no serious discussion on its extension.
- The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has also played a vital role in controlling proliferation of nuclear arms.
- Because of the NPT, the number of nuclear arms has been drastically reduced since a peak in the mid-1980s when there were some 70,000 nuclear warheads in the world.
- This decrease in number of nuclear arms is observed with modernisation of nuclear arms coupled with increasing size of arms especially by China, India, and Pakistan.
- The report has shown worry over the build-up of nuclear arms on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan, and the danger of a conventional conflict escalating to a nuclear one.
- Global disarmament efforts also suffered a blow when the United States announced in February, 2019 that it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, prompting Russia to say it would also suspend its participation.
- Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 to eliminate and permanently forgo all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
- The SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
- Established in 1966 at Stockholm, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
- The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is:
- to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology,
- to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,
- and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.
- The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
- Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
- A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.