Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons.
Disarmament generally refers to a country’s military or 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).Definitions of Disarmament
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.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISARMAMENT AND ARM CONTROL
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 be 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 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.
while 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 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 agreement in 1979. Due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the United States never ratified the treaty, but the agreement was honoured by both sides.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties were signed, as 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.
The 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.