Important Nuclear Non-proliferation treaties

Important Nuclear Non-proliferation treaties 

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

  • 1st and only international treaty that puts a comprehensive ban on all nuclear activities including threat, development, testing, possession and use. 
  • None of the nuclear power have signed the treaty including India.
  • Currently 120 countries have signed the treaty.

Partial Test Ban Treaty

  • Signed in 1963 by USA, USSR and UK, it prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except for those conducted underground.
  • It is a treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in outer space.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

  • NPT is an international nuclear disarmament treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Signed by 191 countries, the treaty restricts nuclear non-weapon states (countries which had no nuclear weapon till 1968) from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • On the other hand the nuclear weapon states shall work towards disarmament and share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology (civilian) to countries that have signed the NPT.
  • 5 states recognised as nuclear-weapon states include the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China.
  • The countries that receive nuclear technology or fuel for civil nuclear purposes (power generation) are subject to export controls under the Nuclear Suppliers Group and verification measures of the IAEA Additional Protocol.
  • 4 UN member states that have never joined the NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan.
  • Though Iran is a signatory to NPT, it was declared non-compliant by IAEA in 2002. Recently in 2020 after the US’s withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and consequent sanctions, Iran has threatened to withdrawfrom NPT and resume nuclear enrichment.
  • North Korea had signed the NPT in 1985 as a nuclear non-weapon state. Thereafter in 1993 it unilaterally withdrew from NPT. However there is no definitive legal opinion regarding the membership of N.Korea which has resorted to nuclear test time and again.

IAEA Safeguard Agreement and India

  • Though India is not a part of NPT, it has signed the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement IAEA in 2009.
  • Besides India also signed the Additional Protocol in 2009 and entered into force in 2014.
  • Accordingly India has kept 20 of its 22 civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

  • Adopted in 1996 by UNGA, it prohibits all forms of nuclear tests in space, water & underground.
  • India has not signed the treaty as it does not talk about nuclear disarmament.
  • So far it has been signed by 184 states, of which 168 have ratified the treaty.
  • However the treaty has not come into force yet as many countries that possess nuclear technology have not yet signed or ratified the
  • Those that have signed but not ratified:  China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, USA.
  • Those that have not signed: India, Pakistan and North Korea.


Nuclear Suppliers Group

  • Established in 1974 after Pokhran test.
  • NSG is a mechanism to fulfil one of the key aims of NPT; to share the benefits of peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • It is a 48-member export-control regime that regulates export of nuclear technology and fuel.
  • Accordingly, nuclear non-weapon states who have signed NPT can have access to items listed in NPT.
  • In 2008, India was granted a special waiver by NSG for supply of nuclear fuel and technology to India. Thus India became the first and only non-NPT signatory to have this privilege.
  • Consequently India signed civil nuclear agreements with 14 countries including USA, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Czech Republic.

Australian Group

  • Established in 1985 during Chemical Weapon use in Iran-Iraq war in 1984
  • It is aimed at controlling exports of biological and chemical agents used as weapons.
  • Headquartered in Paris, its members include India, US, Canada, EU, Turkey, Argentina, Australia, Japan etc.

Wassegnar Arrangement

  • It is a multilateral export control treaty that aims to regulate the export of conventional arms/munitions and dual-use goods and technology.
  • It includes not only arms but also technologies that can be used for military purposes including computers, sensors, lasers, electronics, surveillance technologies etc.
  • Currently, it has 42 members including India, US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Japan, Russia, South Africa etc.

Missile Technology Control Regime

  • Established in 1987, MTCR aims to regulate the export of weapon delivery systems signatories to non-signatories.
  • It restricts export of weapon delivery system that delivers any type of weapon including conventional weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons and nuclear weapons.
  • Accordingly weapons delivery system carrying more than 500 kg payload for over 300 km is restricted under MTCR.
  • India officially became a signatory of MTCR in 2018 which enabled India to
  • increase the range of BrahMos (from 290KM to 450KM)
  • get access to predator drones from different countries

Nuclear-Free Zones

  • Antarctica by Antarctic treaty
  • Space by Outer Space Treaty
  • Seabed by Seabed arms control treaty
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