All that you need to know about NPT

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NPT stands for Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or simply
Non Proliferation Treaty. In this article, we shall have look on what it actually is and as to why it is so important.

NPT in a nutshell :
  • The word proliferation stands for a rapid increase in the number of something. So NPT is a treaty with an objective to prevent the increase of nuclear weapon technology.
  • It  aims to promote cooperation between various countries to find peaceful uses of nuclear energy and it also aims for a complete disarmament of nuclear weapons i.e, a world without any nuclear weapons.
  • It was signed on July 1, 1968 and came into effect from March 5, 1970.
  • The treaty was originally conceived for a duration of 25 years but after 25 years, the NPT parties met again on May 11, 1995 in New York and decided to extend it indefinitely.
  • It is important because more countries have adhered to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.
  • The treaty defines authorized nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those states that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967. These are the USA, Russia, UK, France and China.
  • As of now, there are 190 countries that have signed the agreement and a total of 191 countries have signed it.
  • North Korea signed the treaty in 1985 but withdrew from it in 2003. 
  • There are 4 parties who have never signed the treaty. They are India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan.

India's stand on NPT :

  • India argues that the NPT creates a club of  countries with nuclear weapons and a larger group of countries without nuclear weapons by restricting the legal possession of nuclear weapons to those states that tested them before 1967 but never explains as to why this distinction is valid.
  • In 2007, India's then External affairs minister said that India has not signed NPT because it is a flawed treaty and not because of its lack of commitment towards non-proliferation.

Criticism against NPT:

  • Critics argue that the NPT cannot stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons or the motivation to acquire them as there has been limited progress on nuclear disarmament. The five authorized nuclear weapons states still have 22,000 warheads in their combined stockpile.
  • The third world countries often argue that the NPT is a conspiracy by powerful nuclear states against non-nuclear states to keep them in their place.
  • Iran and various Arab countries criticize Israel for not signing the treaty.
  • According to critics, those states which possess nuclear weapons, but are not authorized to do so under the NPT, have not paid a significant price for their pursuit of weapons capabilities.

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