International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021
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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed on 26 September 2016 across the world.  This day is celebrated to make different countries of the world aware of the danger of nuclear weapons and their elimination. On this day, people and world leaders are made aware that the harm caused by these weapons can destroy social, economic and personal life. 

History of International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

In the year 2013, ’26 September’ was declared as ‘International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons’ by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The purpose of this declaration was to promote cooperation and public awareness on nuclear disarmament, it is noteworthy that in the year 2009, 29 August was declared by the UNGA as the ‘International Day against Nuclear Tests’. 

Status of Nuclear Weapons in the world 

According to the United Nations report, there are about 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world.  Countries possessing such weapons are well funded and have long-term plans to modernize their nuclear weapons. 

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The deployment of nuclear weapons has decreased since the end of the Cold War, but these countries have not destroyed nuclear weapons.  The principle of nuclear deterrence applies to all states and their allies that have nuclear weapons. 

India’s commitment to abolition of nuclear weapons 

The Union Foreign Secretary, while addressing a high-level meeting on the occasion of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, supported the elimination of nuclear weapons in a phased manner without any discrimination. 

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He said that India believes in the need to establish a meaningful dialogue to build trust and confidence among all nuclear weapon holder countries. 

No First Use Policy on International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

  • The Union Foreign Secretary reiterated India’s commitment to ‘No First Use’, i.e., no first use of nuclear weapons against nuclear weapon holder countries and non-nuclear weapon holder countries. 
  • He said that India has been an important partner in global efforts to strengthen nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. 
  • It is clear from the words of the Union Foreign Secretary that India has not made any changes in its ‘No First Use Policy’. 
  • It is worth noting that the Union Defense Minister had indicated a change in India’s nuclear policy after the 2019 elections, he said that India’s attitude towards the ‘No First Use Policy’ in the coming days depended on the future circumstances.
  • After the Pokhran test of 1998, a Nuclear Doctrine was issued by India in the year 1999, under which the ‘No First Use Policy’ was included. 

Role of multilateral efforts

  • The Union Foreign Secretary described ‘The Conference on Disarmament- CD’ as the world’s only multilateral disarmament agreement forum and spoke of India’s support for holding talks under a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention through this forum  . 
  • India is also committed to negotiations on the ‘Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty’ on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator (or CD/1299) at the Conference on Disarmament (March 24, 1994)  Is. 
  • Significantly, through discussions conducted under CD/1299, “direction was given to the initiative to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”. 

Need for Nuclear Disarmament

  • After the Cold War, special emphasis was placed on limiting the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missile systems in the world. 
  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Non-Proliferation Treaty- NPT) and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-START) are some notable examples of initiatives in this direction. 
  • However, the emergence of China as a new military power in the past few years has seen a drastic change in the global balance of power.  Apart from this, China’s non-participation of many important arms control treaties has been a matter of great concern. 
  • Significantly, after the US withdrew from the ‘Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces-INF Treaty’ in the year 2019, there has been an increase in the demand for a new arrangement to ban the development of weapons on the global. 
Int’l Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons | Credit: United Nations

The Conference on Disarmament- CD 

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). At present it works in the field of nuclear disarmament, prevention of arms race in space, prevention of development of new types of weapons of mass destruction and radiological weapons etc.


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