INF Treaty Current Affairs - 2019
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With the formal announcement by the United States about the withdrawal from the INF treaty, Russia has followed the suit and declared the suspension of the treaty. Defence analysts fear about the arms race due to the suspension of the treaty.
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
The features of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987 were:
- The treaty prohibited the United States and the Soviet Union from possessing, testing and deploying ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).
- The treaty covers all types of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles whether their payload is conventional or nuclear.
- The treaty exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range.
Under the treaty, both US and Russia had destroyed 846 and 1,846 missiles respectively.
How the INF treaty aided in Diffusing Tensions?
Due to the limited range, Short flight times and unpredictable flight patterns, It was difficult to detect the short and medium ranges missiles. As a result, there was a threat of nuclear war in Europe which is sandwiched between Russia and US.
The missiles were designed chiefly to fight a theatre nuclear war in Europe. It exacerbated crisis instability and increased the chances of an accidental nuclear war.
Hence the destruction of these missiles under the provisions of the INF treaty was highly beneficial towards enhancing both regional and global security.
What would happen now?
Both Russia and US would indulge in the development of these short and medium ranges missiles. There could be an arms race with EU joining the race as a third entity. Since these missiles are mobile, hard to detect, nuclear-capable and can reach European cities, they have hardly any warning time at all so they reduce the threshold for any potential use of nuclear weapons in a conflict. This would lead to instability and trust deficit.
Russia has confirmed that the United States of America has decided to cancel the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed between Russian and the USA in 1987. The USA had already announced the withdrawal decision from the INF treaty in October 2018.
About INF Treaty:
- The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between US President Ronald Reagan and USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.
- The treaty aimed to end arms race between USA and USSR during cold war and to ensure some strategic stability in Europe.
- The INF treaty banned the development, testing and possession of short and medium-range ground-launched nuclear missiles having ranger between 500-5,000 km.
- Also, all the nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 km or (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (intermediate-range) were banned under this treaty.
- The Treaty proved to be a potent deterrent against any full-scale nuclear war in Europe.
- Almost 3,000 existing weapons were dismantled and destroyed after the signing of this treaty.
Russia has warned to take retaliatory measures and to counter any aggression if its security gets threatened after the US pulling out of the INF treaty.