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Treaty On Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Treaty On Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Why in news?

  • The UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force on 22 January 2021.
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had approved the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” in the year 2017.
  • However, the nine countries that possess the nuclear weapons did not support it.
  • The treaty was not supported by the NATO alliance as well.
  • US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel (countries possessing nuclear weapons) and NATO alliance did not support it.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)                                                                                            

  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities.
  • TPNW prohibits States Parties to
    • Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly;
    • Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
    • Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory.
    • Receive the transfer of or control over nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices directly or indirectly;
    • Assist, encourage or induce, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
    • Use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

India’s stand

  • India maintains that, it will continue to provide the high priority and remain committed to the universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament.
  • India believes that the treaty does not constitute or contribute to the development of customary international law, nor does it set any new standards or norms.
  • India supports the commencement of negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention in the Conference on Disarmament, which is the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum working on the basis of consensus.
  • The Ministry of external affairs further said, since India did not participate in negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it will not become a party to the Treaty.
  • However, India showed its support to the commencement of negotiations on a “comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention in the Conference on Disarmament”. It is the only multilateral disarmament negotiating forum that works on the basis of consensus.

Significance of TPNW

  • Message to nuclear power countries: Creating a global opinion against the acquiring nuclear weapons helps to expose dangerous belief that the possession of nuclear weapons can provide them security, also gives notice to the established nuclear powers that they have lost the moral right to keep nuclear weapons.
  • Closes legal gap: TPNW strengthens the provisions of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and provides a framework for countries worldwide to eliminate nuclear weapons by closing legal gaps.
  • Victim support and remediation: In addition to the Treaty’s prohibitions, States Parties are obligated to provide victim assistance and help with environmental remediation efforts by cleaning up environments contaminated by nuclear testing.
  • Humanitarian values: Nuclear weapons should be banned because they have unacceptable humanitarian consequences and pose a threat to humanity.
  • Facilitator to young generation: In the era of globalisation of protest movements, the TPNW can act as a catalyst to organise the younger generation of the world in delegitimising nuclear weapons and disassociate themselves from any activities assisting nuclear weapons production.

Drawbacks of the treaty

  • It contains no mechanism to verify the reduction and abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • It does not offer a practical approach on how to prod nuclear weapons states to join it.
  • It also does not provide a solution to the risk of nuclear weapons being used by accident or miscalculation, or by terrorists.

Challenges to TPNW

  • No involvement of significant countries: NATO member-states and other powerful and wealthy countries like India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia have stayed out of the Treaty mentioning reason of national security.
  • Question on Non efficacy: The effectiveness of the treaty is questionable because none of the current nine nuclear-armed states including five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (P5) support the treaty or have signed it.
  • Lack of lucidity: Some countries’ arguments for not joining the Treaty are more on technical grounds, as the lack of clarity about the type of nuclear weapons the Treaty covers or how it would relate to other global treaties covering nuclear weapons’ control or proliferation.

How the TPNW is different from NPT?

  • TPNW prohibits nuclear weapons outright, comprehensively, for all States Parties, irrespective of whether they possess nuclear weapons, while in the NPT the non-nuclear-weapon States forsake the option of developing nuclear weapons.
  • TPNW focused on prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons, while the NPT is focused on the transfer, manufacture and acquisition of these weapons.
  • TPNW complements and supports the NPT’s nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives to pursue negotiations on effective measures for nuclear disarmament.

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