Nuclear weapons are becoming a threat to humanity to end this threat the most logical solution is nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is the act of eliminating or reducing nuclear weapons so that we can move towards a nuclear weapon free world. Many International organisations like United Nations have taken a lot of steps to achieve this goal but they are not sufficient.
Today there are a lot of states in the world who dream of a nuclear weapon free world. But many problems have come as an obstacle to this vision of the world. Some of the problems are:
- Existing Weapons – It is one of the major threats to the world peace. Even after reductions in the stockpile after the cold war, the nuclear weapon states(NWS) possess approx 15400 nuclear warheads with more than 4000 of it are ready to deploy within few minutes of the decision of the Head of the state. 96% of the total weapons are possessed by the United States and the Russian Federation and rest by other nine NWS combined (China, India, Pakistan, UK, France, Israel, and North Korea). These weapons have the destruction capacity of more than 1, 00,000 Hiroshima sized bombs. Until all the existing weapons are demolished we cannot achieve a nuclear weapon free world.
- New Nuclear Armed States – The states of India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea who possess nuclear weapons, other than the original nuclear power states, can be a threat to the world. They have not ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As long as a state has a nuclear weapon the other states too, want to have them due to security reasons as cited by them. Due to this reason, North Korea had withdrawn from the NPT and tested its nuclear weapons. Similarly, Iran may or may not join the NWS.
- Nuclear Terrorism – Another risk may be that the terrorist actors may try to acquire nuclear weapons for its use to destroy the world. There can be smuggling of nuclear materials like uranium and plutonium useful to make bombs as The World had seen in case of The AQ Khan Black Market. There has also been a growing concern about cybersecurity in nuclear facilities like the Stuxnet attacks on the Natanz Uranium enrichment facility in Iran.
- Peaceful Nuclear Energy – The next risk is with the increasing use of civil nuclear energy. The use of nuclear energy can be seen as a good renewable source of power but some states are using the nuclear materials for uranium enrichment programs like North Korea who develops the starter Bomb kits using these materials.
Some steps have to be taken to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and maintain it to the minimum required. So that we can save the world for our upcoming generations and provide them a nuclear weapon free world. For this we can:
- First, Disarmament, which can include minimisation and elimination.
- Second, Non- Proliferation, which will the states taking actions against the risks of proliferation.
- The last, Building blocks paradigm, this can include both; Disarmament and Non-Proliferation and the third: Comprehensive test ban treaty, and a ban on fissile materials.
Comprehensive View of the Solutions for Nuclear Disarmament
Building blocks Paradigm to achieve a nuclear weapon free world.
The Comprehensive Test Ban treaty is very important to keep a watch on the acquiring of New Nuclear Weapons and is the first step to building blocks paradigm. The treaty was concluded in 1996, but till now it has not come into force due to non-ratification by the nine nuclear weapon states. In spite the strong pressure of the International community and the NPT review Committee still the treaty has not come into force.
Banning the testing can be effectively supplemented by the banning of fissile materials, such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium, used in the making of nuclear weapons. This can be achieved by negotiating on The Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT). But the treaty is before The UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and is blocked due to Pakistan’s non-consensus.
This is the only step in The Building Blocks in which the International community has achieved some success through various treaties, resolutions, and other programs and most of it have been achieved after the 9/11 attacks. The so-called ‘loose nukes’ i.e. nuclear weapons and materials vulnerable to theft and smuggling were kept secure away from non-state actors and terrorist groups.
Non-proliferation Steps For a Nuclear Weapon free World
– The traditional safeguard systems which focuses on the accountability and see the flow of nuclear materials going inside the nuclear reactors and checking whether there were any diversions in military uses, is needed to be supplemented with a new and proper detection system so that there are no discrepancies like in case of North Korea and Iran.
In 2003, North Korea had withdrawn from the NPT and then pursued its ambitious nuclear program. There is a need to take certain steps to stops other countries from withdrawing from the NPT:
– The UNSC must pass some resolutions that the safeguards relating to nuclear materials do not lapse if a state withdraws from NPT.
– If after withdrawing the state does not comply with safeguards UNSC must take immediate steps against it as it can become a threat to world peace.
– There must be a “return to sender” clause that the withdrawing state must close all the nuclear facilities and give the sensitive technology to the country of origin as early as possible.
The dynamic expansion of the civil nuclear technology as given by Article IV of The NPT should be in compliance with the article I and article II of the treaty and the safeguards of The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There must not be an enrichment program that the technology is used in making weapons. Similarly like North Korea had done.
– The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be strengthened as a watchdog over the states with regards to nuclear non-proliferation.
– There must be an increase in the funding of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by both the Nuclear weapon states (NWS) and the Non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).
– All IAEA members must provide a quarterly report to the agency so that any secretive nuclear activity can come under notice.
– It must be given more autonomy so that any action against non-compliance of safeguards by the state can immediately be dealt and effective steps can be taken not like the case of Egypt of Libya in which the states took advantage of the inconsistency of how IAEA deals with violations.
Nuclear disarmament is not just the responsibility of the nuclear weapon states as they possess them but also the responsibility of the Non Nuclear weapon states. NWS will never fully disarm them until they have the assurance that the NNWS will not back out of the treaty.
Disarmament Steps For A Nuclear Weapon free World
We can divide the talks of disarmament into two steps: Minimization followed by elimination. Minimization is the most realistic way and has been accepted by many NWS. After the cold war, there was a great reduction in the number of nuclear weapons held by the states. For Minimization We can follow a few steps:
– Set a target date which can be 2030
– Set the reduction to 90% of the nuclear weapons held. This can solve the problem of nuclear deterrence as none of the states would give up and have minimum weapons for deterrence.
– Letting all Nuclear weapon state to sign the no-first-use policy
– Taking all their nuclear weapons off high Alert status
To bring the number of nuclear weapons to zero, is a tougher task. We have to keep in mind the geo-political and physical locations in mind. For Example, persuading countries in South Asia and the Middle East is tougher due to the situations of threat prevailing in their regions. On the other hand, persuading France would be much easier as for them it is a matter of national pride and status.
Bilateral and multilateral talks
The strategy of countries must be reducing nuclear arms through bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries. The NEW START treaty between USA and Russia is a treaty for minimisation of nuclear arms. More countries must engage in such talks which will ultimately help in arms reduction.
Nuclear Weapon free Zones
These are the zones where a group of states agree on a treaty or a convention to ban testing, procurement and use of nuclear power plants. Currently, there are five NWFS and the state must include in talks to build more. One of the most probable locations is The Middle East where there is a tension between countries.
Achieving a Nuclear Weapon free world is not an impossible task but definitely a hard thing to achieve but it can be possible with the cooperation, dedication and the attitude of the countries towards it.
The three steps of Nuclear Disarmament, Non – Proliferation and building blocks will definitely help in reduction of nuclear arms and achieve our objectives.Today while there has been a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons but their potential to destroy the world many times over has not decreased. To counter this, the big states must hold some talks and initiate the process of nuclear disarmament. This will provide a momentum to the other states to work towards the achievement of this goal.
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