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RAJYA SABHA TV – THE BIG PICTURE: US VS RUSSIA N-ARMS TREATY & VENEZUELA


RAJYA SABHA TV – THE BIG PICTURE: US VS RUSSIA N-ARMS TREATY & VENEZUELA


(TOPICS COVERED):

PRELIMS: CURRENT EVENTS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE

MAINS: GENERAL STUDIES II- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS;

               GENERAL STUDIES III – TECHNOLOGY, SECURITY)

In an increasing standoff over nuclear weapons, Russia and the United States have suspended compliance with the Cold war-era Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. This has prompted fears of a new arms race that analysts and politicians say could push the world “much closer” to a nuclear war. US President Donald Trump accused Russia of violating the 1987 bilateral treaty with “impunity” formally suspending the treaty on 1 Feb 2019. In response, Russian president Vladimir Putin did so the very next day on 2 Feb 2019.

World map showing United States (in orange) and Russia (in Green)

Treaties between US and Russia related to “arms reduction” are/were:

Treaty Signed on date Remarks Expiration
Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty 8 December 1987 Treaty signed between USA and Soviet Union on the elimination of their Intermediate-range and Shorter-Range missiles 1 Feb 2019 (US)

2 Feb 2019 (Russia)

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) 26 May 1972 An arms control treaty between US and Soviet Union on the limitation of Anti-Ballistic missile systems. June 2002 (US withdrew)
START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) 31 July 1991 Treaty between US and USSR on the reduction and limitations of strategic offensive arms. 5 December 2009
New START 8 April 2010 Treaty between US and USSR on measures of for further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. 5 Feb 2021

 

INTERMEDIATE RANGE NUCLEAR FORCES TREATY:

  • It was a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • The INF treaty eliminated all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and launchers with ranges of 500-1000 km (short medium range) and 1000-5500 km (intermediate range).
  • Air or sea launched missiles were not covered in the treaty.
  • More than 2,500 missiles were eliminated by 1991.
  • The missiles, their launcher systems and transporter vehicles destroyed included:

United States – BGM-109G, Pershing 1a, Pershing II

Russia- SS-4, SS-5, SS-12, SS-20, SS-23, SSC-X4.

 

SS 20 ballistic missile that was withdrawn under the INF Treaty

  • Due to the expiration of INF treaty, the START treaties have also come in a
  • China is developing technologies like cruise missiles and so it may be a reason too that USA did not want to restrict itself with a treaty like INF.
  • Russia also wants to demonstrate itself as a superpower and so it also left the INF treaty.
  • The Eastwards expansion of NATO is also a possible factor for USA from INF. NATO has been expanding Eastwards adding 13 more members (10 from Warsaw Pact members) after the end of the Cold War. Montenegro was added latest in 2017. So, to support such expansions, USA would like to develop its military engagements.
  • With the expansions of NATO, Russia also develops its military powers. Such security dilemmas create a vicious spiral between USA and Russia.

Expansion of NATO

  • But removal of barriers of INF has put regions in Europe and Asia Pacific directly under a Line of Fire of Russia.
  • The INF Treaty was signed to control the Cold War between USA and Soviet Union. But today the politics is different in USA and Russia. China is also emerging in picture now as a powerful nation in Asia-Pacific region.

CONCLUSION:

INF treaty had contributed to the end of the Cold War and helped in three decades of strategic stability. Since the signing of ABM treaty in 1972, the world will be left without any limits for two nuclear arsenals as the START treaty also expires in 2021. With the expiration of INF treaty, the world may enter a phase of multilateral arms race, and not just two nations (USA and Soviet Union) seen during the Cold War. So, proper arms control agreements may be looked upon involving all the possible actors to prevent the race and maintain peace and stability in the world.