Nuclear Disarmament Current Affairs

122 Countries adopts historic global treaty to ban Nuclear Weapons 

The United Nations has adopted a historic global treaty banning nuclear weapons. The treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 members in favour. The Netherlands was the only country who voted against the treaty. Singapore abstained from voting.

Costa Rica’s ambassador, Elayne Whyte Gomez, was the president of the UN conference that negotiated the treaty. Nearly 129 countries signed up to take part in the drafting of the treaty which represents two-thirds of the UN’s193 member states. Nearly 141 countries led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand drafted the treaty in a hope that the treaty would increase pressure on the nuclear powers to take disarmament more seriously.

The treaty would be opened for signature on September 20. It will enter into force once 50 countries ratified it. All of the ratifying countries should never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The treaty also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Opposition

The nine nuclear powers, namely, the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel neither took part in the negotiations nor cast their vote. Even Japan the sole sufferer of atomic attack refrained from taking part in the negotiations. Most of the NATO countries too boycotted the negotiations.

The nuclear powers view the treaty as unrealistic and argue that it will not have any impact on reducing the global stockpile of 15000 atomic weapons. According to the nuclear powers, their nuclear arsenals serve as a deterrent against nuclear attacks and they remain committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and puts the onus on nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles.

But the non-nuclear states are increasingly worried about the slow pace of disarmament and are concerned that weapons of mass destruction may fall into the wrong hands.

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Amandeep Singh Gill appointed as India’s Ambassador to UN Conference on Disarmament

Senior IFS officer Amandeep Singh Gill was appointed as the India’s Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva.

He is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1992 batch. He had represented India on the UN Secretary General’s Panel on Missiles from 2007 to 2008. Besides, he was also member of the Indian delegation to the Conference on Disarmament during the negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

What is UN Conference on Disarmament?

  • The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is not formally a United Nations (UN) organization. It is linked to the UN through a personal representative of the UN Secretary-General
  • It is a forum established in 1979 by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements.
  • The conference has 65 members represent all areas of the world, including all known nuclear-weapon states (including India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea)
  • Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly often request conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, conference annually reports its activities to UNGA.
  • In the 1990s, the Conference had held intensive efforts to draft CTBT text and its two annexes, but it did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text.
  • Currently it conducts discussion on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), a pact to prevent an arms race in outer space, nuclear disarmament and negative security assurances (NSA).

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