Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons.
Disarmament generally refers to a country’s military or a specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms.
General and Complete Disarmament refers to the removal of all weaponry, including conventional arms.
Disarmament can be contrasted with arms control, which essentially refers to the act of controlling arms rather than eliminating them. A distinction can also be made between
Disarmament as a process (the process of eliminating weapons).
Disarmament as an end state (the absence of weapons).
According to Morgenthau, “Disarmament is the reduction or elimination of certain or all armaments for the purpose of ending the armament race.”
On the danger of nuclear weapons, Albert Einstein reportedly said: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Since the birth of the United Nations, the goals of multilateral disarmament and arms limitation have been deemed central to the maintenance of international peace and security.
These goals range from reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons and strengthening the prohibition against biological weapons, to halting the proliferation of landmines, small arms, and light weapons.
These efforts are supported by a number of key UN instruments.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most universal of all multilateral disarmament treaties, came into force in 1970.
The Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
The Biological Weapons Convention in 1975.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted in 1996, however, it has not yet entered into force.
The 1997 Mine-Ban Convention came into force in 1999.
The arms control process is intended to serve as a means to enhance a state’s national security. Arms control is but one approach to achieve that goal.
Arms control can even lead states to agree to increases in certain categories of armaments if such increases would contribute to crisis stability and thereby reduce the chance of war.
Armaments have been the major cause of international instability and conflict; only through reductions in the weaponry of all nations can the world achieve peace.
Disarmament has a longer legacy than arms control and was a common theme in international relations. 1960s international security specialists began using the term arms control in place of the term disarmament.
In other word disarmament as part of a state’s arms control policy and it is part of a means-to-an-end approach. For example, the United States and other countries have negotiated global conventions that endeavor to rid the world of chemical and biological weapons.
EFFORTS DONE FOR DISARMAMENT, NON –PROLIFERATION & ARMS CONTROL
- The 1817 Rush–Bagot Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom was the first arms control treaty of what can be considered the modern industrial era, leading to the demilitarization of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain region of North America. This was followed by the 1871 Treaty of Washington which led to total demilitarization.
- A Second Hague Conference was called in 1907 having some disarmament clause. A Third Hague Conference was called for 1915, but this was abandoned due to the First World War.
- After the World War I, the League of Nations was set up which attempted to limit and reduce arms. However, the enforcement of this policy was not effective.
- The 1925 Geneva Conference led to the banning of chemical weapons (as toxic gases) during the war as part of the Geneva Protocol. After World War II, the United Nations was set up as a body to promote world peace.The United States proposed the Baruch Plan in 1946 as a way to impose stringent international control over the nuclear fuel cycle and thereby avert a global nuclear arms race, but the Soviet Union rejected the proposal and negotiations failed.
Following President Eisenhower’s 1953 Atoms for Peace speech to the UN General Assembly, the International Atomic Energy Agency was set up in 1957 to promote peaceful uses of nuclear technology and apply safeguards against the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons.
The 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed to prevent further spread of nuclear weapons technology to countries outside the five that already possessed them: the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China.
Nuclear non-proliferation treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely.
A total of 191 states have joined the Treaty, though North Korea, which acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal in 2003.
Four UN member states have never joined the NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan.
The treaty recognizes five states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council). Four other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons.meanwhile, Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapon programme.
The NPT is based on three core principle or pillar.The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the United States and the Soviet Union in the late 1960s/early 1970s led to further weapons control agreements.
The SALT I talks led to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and an Interim Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement
The SALT II talks started in 1972 leading to an agreement in 1979. Due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, the United States never ratified the treaty, but the agreement was honored by both sides.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties were signed, as the START I and START II, by the US and Soviet Union, further restricting weapons.
This was further moved on by the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, which was in turn superseded by the New START Treaty.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1996 banning all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes, but it has not entered into force due to the non-ratification of eight specific states.the US President Mr. Bill Clinton was the first head of state to sign the treaty. The US was followed by the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council—France, Britain, Russia, and China. A large number of nations signed the treaty after it was opened for signatures. India, Pakistan, and Israel, who were till then called “nuclear threshold” nations, refused to sign the treaty as they found it “inadequate and unequal”.
Main Provisions of the CTBT:
- The Treaty banned every kind of nuclear weapons test or nuclear explosion.
- An international monitoring system was to be set up for checking violations of CTBT.
- Any underground, atmospheric or underwater explosions more powerful than the equivalent of 1,000 tonnes of conventional explosive was to be detected by a network of 20 stations.
Criticism of CTBT:
(i) No timetable was incorporated in the CTBT for making the five nuclear weapon countries to destroy their nuclear weapons.
(ii) The entry into force clause was unacceptable.
(iii) The nuclear haves retained the advantage. They secured the recognition of their right of modernizing their n-arsenals.
(iv) The treaty was not comprehensive, because it only banned nuclear weapons test.
Several factors have been hindering the process of securing Disarmament and Arms Control in international relations.
- Faith in Armaments:
The first hindrance is the view that supports armaments as an essential means for the exercise of the power of the state. States continue to depend upon armaments and are not likely to give them up or accept serious restrictions on these until alternative means of serving their interests and purposes have been established.
- The Problem of Ratios of Strength:
Another big hindrance in the way of disarmament is the fact that agreement on disarmament presupposes agreement on ratios of strength among weapons and the armed establishment of various nations. There exists no scientific basis for fixing the ratios among the weapons. Armaments and armed establishments which the different states possess makes it very difficult to make a decision regarding the allocation of different quantities and types of armaments to different nations within the agreed ratio.
- The Problem of Implementation of Agreements on Ratios:
Even if there may be an agreement on the ratios of power that ought to prevail among states seeking disarmament, there would still be great obstacles to disarmament. Different states are bound to have more or less power in international relations. This is bound to be there because military factor itself is always dependent upon several other factors. Nations with allocated ratios of armaments and military power are bound to be motivated differently in favor or against the war. Hence, even the fixation of the ratio of the strength of armaments cannot fully solve the problem of disarmament.
- The continued Distrust among Nations:
The existence of strong distrust among several nations makes it difficult for the international community to go in for disarmament and arms control. The disarmament plans which from time to time are offered by various nations are mostly based upon fear and distrust and that is why these always contain several reservations and “Joker Clauses” which some nations can never be expected to accept.
“If there were perfect trust among nations, arms would be unnecessary, and disarmament would not be a problem” —Schleicher
- A sense of Insecurity among Nations:
Another big hindrance in the way of disarmament is the sense of insecurity among nations. Armament is considered to be a source and a symbol of security, and disarmament is regarded as a condition which can lead to insecurity. Further, tanks, airplanes, rockets, bombs, all make it easier for statesmen to display the power of the state and their achievements.
- Political Rivalry and Disputes:
The existence of strong political rivalry and disputes among nations has been a potent hindrance in the way of disarmament. Political rivalry among the states has been a source of armament race in international relations and in this way it has acted as a road-block in the way of disarmament and arms control.
Besides these six key hindrances, the highly dynamic nature of military technology and the importance of armament industry in the existing international economic system constitute the other two big hindrances. Further, along with these, the continued love for narrowly conceived national sovereignties has been acting as a general hindrance in the way of disarmament and arms control.
In actual practice, the biggest hindrance in the way of disarmament and arms control in the contemporary era of international relations happens to be the difference in approach of several nations towards this objective.
Powerful nations like the USA want arms control and disarmament in respect of strategic and medium-range nuclear armament and leave aside the question of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that they possess. Many other nations, however, give first priority to nuclear disarmament followed by arms control and general disarmament.
Analyzing the chances of a disarmament agreement, Schleicher has observed, “The possibility and probability of an international agreement on disarmament and arms control, its nature and effectiveness, depends largely upon several key factors.
Of these, two are favorable factors:
(1) The fear of nuclear war, the desire for peace and the belief that arms contribute to tension and war, and
(2) The instabilities and dangers growing out of the unregulated arms race.
On the other hand, there are four serious obstacles:
(1) Nationalism and sovereignty;
(2) The problem of the ratio;
(3) Distrust among nations; and
(4) The unwillingness of the nuclear powers to liquidate their nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Two additional factors have been also present,
(1) The priority of disarmament or the settlement of political problems; and
(2) Economic considerations of Arms Market.
Both these factors work for and against an agreement. Of these factors, the hindering factors appear to be more formidable than the favorable factors. That is why progress towards Disarmament and Arms Control has tended to be very slow and quite small.
SOME ARRANGEMENTS REGARDING ARMS CONTROL
NSG (NUCLEAR SUPPLIER GROUP
GROUP OF 46 MEMBERS
COMMITTED FOR NON PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIAL
SOME TIME KNOWN AS LONDON GROUP)
|FORMED IN 1985
MEMBER COUNTRIES: 46
AIM IS TO PREVENT PROLIFERATION OF CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
|FORMED IN 1996
COMMITTED TO CONTROL OF DUAL-USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND CONVENTIONAL ARMS
MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME
|FORMED IN 1987
TO PREVENT PROLIFERATION OF AERIAL VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY CAPABLE OF CARRYING 500 KG. LOADS AT LEAST OF 300 KM.
There are more than 17000 nuclear weapons in nine countries. Each one is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.
The generic term “global zero” or “zero” is often associated with nuclear disarmament or the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons in arms control discourse. Various arms control campaigns have referred to themselves as Ground Zero or simply as Global Zero.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons(ICAN )
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a global civil society coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to inspire, persuade and pressure their governments to initiate and support negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. ICAN was launched in 2007 by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and today counts more than 270 partner organizations in 60 countries.
What is DDR?
DDR stands for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
The objective of the DDR process is to contribute to security and stability in post-conflict environments so that recovery and development can begin.
The DDR of ex-combatants is a complex process, with political, military, security, humanitarian and socio-economic dimensions.
It aims to deal with the post-conflict security problem that arises when ex-combatants are left without livelihoods or support networks, other than their former comrades, during the vital transition period from conflict to peace and development.
Through a process of removing weapons from the hands of combatants, taking the combatants out of military structures and helping them to integrate socially and economically into society, DDR seeks to support male and female ex-combatants and men, boys, women and girls associated with armed forces and groups, so that they can become active participants in the peace process.