In October 2020, 50 nations signed and ratified the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons, triggering its entry into force in next 90 days. The move has been hailed by anti-nuclear activists but is strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers. This treaty has been around the corner since the last 75 years, since the horrific attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
It must be noted that India and countries like China, Britain, France, etc. have boycotted the treaty and the negotiations. Even though India is a supporter of nuclear disarmament, it boycotted the treaty on the grounds that it does not provide a development of a law that ensures universal disarmament.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:
·The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), is the first legally binding international agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination.
·It was adopted on 7 July 2017, opened for signature on 20 September 2017, and will enter into force on 22 January 2021.
·The treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.
·For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.
·The treaty was passed on 7 July with 122 in favour, 1 against (Netherlands), and 1 official abstention (Singapore).
·69 nations did not vote, among them all of the nuclear weapon states and all NATO members except the Netherlands.
·The TPNW is and will remain divisive in the international community and risk further entrenching divisions in the existing non-proliferation treaty.
·Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): is about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminating nuclear weapons, and this treaty implements that.
·The NPT sought to prevent the spread of nuclear arms beyond the five original weapons powers. It requires non-nuclear signatory nations to not pursue atomic weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five powers to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee non-nuclear states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.