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The fragile state of nuclear disarmament

  • IASbaba
  • June 16, 2022
  • 0
International Relations
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Context: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its yearbook highlighting some trends of the past year in international security.

Key Findings

What have been the trends in military spending?

  • During 2012-2021, military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product has largely been stable.
  • Russia leads the charge in absolute numbers of nuclear inventory (5977 against the U.S.’s 5428), however it is the S. that has the largest number of deployed warheads (1744 against Russia’s 1588).
  • The U.K. has 225 nuclear weapons in its inventory, while France has 290, China has 350, India has 160, and Pakistan has 165.

Global arms imports

  • Military modernisation is seen to be a global trend.
  • India was the top weapons importer during the 2017-2021 period.
  • Other countries to feature in the top five arms importers list include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, and Australia.
  • According to SIPRI, these five nation states account for 38% of total global arms import.

What are the key developments/concerns flagged by the yearbook?

  • The yearbook mentions low level border clashes between India and Pakistan, the civil war in Afghanistan, and the armed conflict in Myanmar as some of the worrying indicators of an unstable system.
  • It also highlighted three causes of concern trends: Chinese-American rivalry, involvement of state and non-state actors in multiple conflicts, and the challenge that climatic and weather hazards pose.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised some serious concern because of the continuous rhetoric from the Kremlin over them not shying away from the use of nuclear weapons.
  • China’s recent activities surrounding construction of 300 new nuclear missile silos have also been turning heads.
  • The report claimed that Iran’s military budget grew to $24.6 billion, growing for the first time in four years.

What is the general attitude among countries about existing nuclear and arms related treaties?

  • The leaders of the P5 countries (China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.) issued a joint statement affirming the belief that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.
  • This highlights collective belief that bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements and commitments were indeed important.
  • The dichotomy of this sentiment against the upward trend in absolute numbers of arms and nuclear arsenals is rather unsettling.
  • Even with these upward trends, the nation states are making sure to remain well within the ambit of what the treaties and agreements ask for.

What lies ahead?

  • A strong political opposition would be needed to help keep the ruling dispensation in check.
  • Furthermore, the two largest nuclear weapons holding states need to take on a more engaging role in the international arena.
  • Nations should opt for peaceful resolution through negotiation.

Source: The Hindu

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