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UN Arms Trade Treaty

Topic covered:

          Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


UN Arms Trade Treaty


What to study?

For prelims: key features of the treaty.

For mains: significance of the treaty, implications of withdrawal by the US.


Context: US President Donald Trump has rejected the United Nations’ 2013 Arms Trade Treaty aimed at regulating the global arms trade.

Trump described the UN arms trade treaty as misguided and an intrusion on US sovereignty.

By pulling out of the ATT, the US joins India, which has not signed the treaty.


Why is India against this treaty?

One of the arguments made by India in 2013 against the treaty was that New Delhi had “strong and effective national export controls” on military hardware to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.


What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?
The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

  1. The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.
  2. It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.
  3. It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.
  4. The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.


What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?
Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.
It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.
The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

Sources: The Hindu.