Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and India – Essay

World War II ended with the most devastating effect of two nuclear bombs dropped by US forces on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities of Japan. There is no parallel in human history of the havoc created which is beyond description. Cessation of World War II was followed by cold war between the rightist and leftist nations and fierce competition for supremacy in developing and possessing nuclear weapons was the outcome of cold war. In the mid 1960’s it was felt that a non-proliferation treaty must be negotiated and India was one among the few countries that had made this demand. As a result on 5th march, 1970 the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was finalized between the Nuclear weapon states (NWP) with the objective to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament. But none of the aforesaid three objectives has been achieved till now rather the centrality of the nuclear weapons in the security arrangements of the nuclear powers has increased. The NATO of the friendly countries must be provided by the Nuclear Weapon States (NPS).

In the current scenario global security is at great risk. Hence the implementation of NPT in letter and spirit has become very difficult which may be attributed to the following developments:

  • Bombardment of Yugoslavia by forces of North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO)
  • Strategic doctrine of NATO nations with regard to their nuclear weapons.
  • Deadlock of the Conference on Disarmament over the Missile Material Cut off Treaty.
  • Delay in the materialization of CTBT.
  • The US programme on National Missile Defense.
  • Strained relations between US, Russia and Chin
  • Non compliance of IAEA safe guards by North Korea and Iraq.
  • Accumulating plutonium stocks from dismantled nuclear weapons.
  • Nuclear tests performed by Pakistan and India in 1998.

The big powers have always resorted to discriminatory behavior. Same is the case of NPT. It lays two sets of rules-one for the Nuclear Weapon States i.e. member states of the Treaty and the other for the non-nuclear weapon states. Only the NNWS are subject to verification whether or not obligations of the Treaty undertaking by them are being complied with. There is no provision for verification of the NWS. Under Article 1 of the treaty the NWS are asked not to transfer nuclear weapons to any state and not to assist them in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Thus non-nuclear weapons states are required to put all their nuclear know how under the inspection of IAEA as provided by Article III while there is no provision of verification of the commitments of the NWS under Article 1.

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Transfer of nuclear technology by China to Pakistan was a deliberate violation of Article I. U.S. is also violating Article I of NPT by assisting U.K. in the development of nuclear weapons. France has also been assisted by in the U.S in nuclear programmes. It is evident that during the last 25 years only those provisions of the NPT have been implemented which are suitable to the interest of NWS.

Article IV of the NPT proclaims the inalienable right of all parties in favor of the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes without discrimination. The NWS have allowed development of nuclear technology only in the industrially developed countries but the developing countries have been deliberately deprived of such opportunities. The Nuclear Weapon States have never taken effective measures for nuclear disarmament as required under Article VI of the NPT. On the contrary these countries have refined their nuclear weapons and have built up massive stocks of these weapons.

A review of the NPT is required every five years according to Article VIII of the Treaty. The sixth Review Conference was held in New York from 24th of April 2000 to 19th May, 2000 under the sponsorship of the U.N. The declaration made at the end of the Review Conference emphasized on the reduction of nuclear weapons. They agreed for further reduction of tactical nuclear weapons and increased transparency by nuclear powers. The final document called for reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security policies and that U.S. and Russia would cut long range nuclear war heads from 6000 & 3500 on each side. It is believed that the U.S. and Russia possess more than 30,000 strategic, tactical or stockpiled war heads. The accession of Israel to NPT was reaffirmed and Israel was called upon to place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards.

Although India was among the first few countries which had called for negotiations for no-proliferation treaty but the NPT that came out neither met India’s security concerns nor provided a framework to manage the threat of nuclear proliferation. But India succeeded in developing its own nuclear technology and by conducting nuclear explosions in 1998 India has demolished the central goal of NPT regime to keep the number of Nuclear Weapon States restricted to five only. But the NPT refuses to recognize India as a Nuclear Weapon State. Yet the western powers want India to join NPT as a Nuclear Weapon State. But India has rejected the call and has clearly declared that it can join the NPT only as a NWS. Obviously India did not participate in the sixth NPT Review Conference. India’s Foreign Minister Mr. Jaswant Singh declared in both the house of parliament that NPT community must understand that India cannot join NPT as a NNWS when it has developed and tested its nuclear weapons. They should appreciate that although India is not a party to NPT; its policies are consistent with the key provisions of the treaty. He further announced that the NWS have either been active collaborators of or silent spectators to continued proliferation and that India is the only Nuclear Weapon State that is committee to commerce negotiations for a Nuclear Weapon Conviction.


Through his statement in the parliament Mr. Singh gave an unambiguous message to the NPT that India will not give up its nuclear arsenal so long as the Nuclear Weapon States keep them. Whether or not NPT recognizes India as a NWS will make no difference to the effectiveness and significance of its capability. India has also claimed that it is in compliance with the obligation imposed by NPT upon NWS. It has also been clarified that India’s record on prevention of nuclear proliferation and promotion of disarmament is far superior to that of NWS.

India has offered a step-by-step approach towards achievement of the aims of ultimate disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the NPT. First step should be delegitimisation of nuclear weapons because no weapon can be eliminated without delegitimisation. India has also proposed the no-first-use-treaty as a first step towards delegitimisation. Dealerting of nuclear weapon and firm negative assurance to non-nuclear weapon states by the NWS is another step suggested by India. For reformulating its nuclear approach, India is in contact with non-nuclear weapon states giving an assurance to them of its commitment to negotiate a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons. This may pressurize the NWS to reduce their nuclear assenal and to move a step towards dis-armament

In the sixth Review Conference of NPT the Nuclear Weapon States have pledged to accomplish total elimination of nuclear weapon. But no time schedule has been given for the accomplishment without which the pledge is a juglary of wards. Practicable global agreement on nuclear non-proliferation, finally resulting in complete nuclear disarmament does not seem to be in slight. However, the NMD programme of U.S. may serve as a catalytic agent for reduction of nuclear weapons. As a consequence of India’s entry into Nuclear power elute difference between India and NPT has sharpened. The NWS had refused to recognize. India as a NWS in spite of successful nuclear tests conducted by it. They urged India to follow the U. N Security council Resolution no1172 passed in June 1998 after India’s nuclear test which calls upon India, among other things to abide by the NPT. Looking to the overall situation. It is the demand of time and circumstances that the superior powers must recognize India’s status and capabilities. Both the NPT and India should end their Traditional diplomatic difference and find reconciliation based on realism.

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