What is nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?


The definition of nuclear proliferation in­cludes acquisition of nuclear weapons, the acquisi­tion of fissionable materials like plutonium, enriched uranium and also the ability to produce them. This nuclear proliferation started with the Second World War. The Second World War has given out a compe­tition among nations to build of their weapons stocks and remain ahead of others. Since then the race for nuclear arms has been continuing.

However, the nuclear proliferation can be ac­complished in two ways, horizontal and vertical. If non-nuclear states become nuclear powers, it is the case of horizontal proliferation but when a nuclear power state goes on adding to its nuclear arsenal, the case is of vertical proliferation.

But after Second World War, the world which had ex­perienced the catastrophic effect of atom bomb embarked on the path not to have repetition of nuclear history. After many years of futile discus­sions a series of substantial developments got its origin and the process yield a very important and relevant treaty in 1968 known as Non-Prolifera­tion Treaty.


This treaty prohibits further spread of nuclear weapons. The decade of 1970 which was declared as disarmament decade by United Na­tions had an auspicious starting by having 43 countries ratifying the treaty.

The one prominent aspects of the treaty is that it professes for a world where five countries i.e. USA, China, Britain, France, Russia would have nuclear weapons and rest of the countries would be devoid of it, as the proliferation of nuclear weapon is prohibited un­der the treaty. It is tantamount to nuclear hege­mony creating an inequality in the world order.

India has argued that it can become a part of treaty but first there should be complete disarma­ment. Despite several resolutions and treaties, no substantial development has been done by nuclear weapons states. It is also a matter of great concern to India’s security as China and Pakistan are nuclear states. The Government of India is in favour of expansion of exclusive club of nuclear power by induction of it.

According to India’s stand Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is an un­equal and discriminatory Treaty which imposes stringent restrictions and curbs on non-nuclear weapon states but it leaves the nuclear weapon powers free from any legal and time bound obli­gation to stop proliferation. It also does not in­clude taking steps to reduce their nuclear arse­nals. It also device the right to peaceful nuclear explosions by non-nuclear weapons states.


Ac­cordingly in India’s view, the treaty is discrimi­natory, unrealistic, ineffective and therefore un­acceptable to India. India’s concern has been two, one freedom to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and two its national security.

India was faced not only with the situation of nuclear prolif­eration world over but also in its own neighbourhood-first in China and then in Paki­stan. At the same time both the countries are hostile to India. All these factors posed a threat to India’s security and signing on the treaty would adversely affect India’s interest.

In spite of all, the structural weakness of the NPT are:-

(a) The imbalance in the distribution of obliga­tions and benefits between the nuclear weapon powers and non-nuclear weapon states.


(b) The omission of any reference to the vertical proliferation in the treaty.

(c) The omission of nuclear security guarantees to non-nuclear weapon states.

(d) The fragile UN resolution on nuclear secu­rity guarantee in 1968.

(e) The technological denials embodied in the discriminatory provisions regarding safe­guards, right to peaceful uses of nuclear en­ergy and right to peaceful nuclear explosives.

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