THE global nuclear arsenal is expected to grow in the coming years for the first time since the Cold War while the risk of such weapons being used is the greatest in decades, a leading conflict and armaments think tank said on Monday.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank, in a new set of research, has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western support for Kyiv has heightened tension among the world’s nine nuclear-armed states.
The possibility of an increase in the nuclear inventory of the countries forming the so-called ‘nuclear club’ is alarming as it is a serious setback to disarmament efforts.
Otherwise too, disarmament plans and initiatives like Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBP) were highly discriminatory in nature as those dominating the nuclear technology were not sincere to accept any plan that could impact upon negatively on their nuclear capabilities and only wanted new entrants and other countries to agree on rollback or scaling back of their nuclear programmes.
It is also unfortunate that the countries are spending hugely on their nuclear and missile programmes as well as other weapons of mass destruction at a time when most of the countries of the globe are still struggling to tackle the consequences of Covid-19 and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the global economy.
SIPRI report says while the number of nuclear weapons fell slightly between January 2021 and January 2022, SIPRI said that unless immediate action was taken by the nuclear powers, global inventories of warheads could soon begin rising for the first time in decades.
It pointed out that all of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies.
Under these circumstances, the UN should come forward and sponsor an intensive dialogue for evolution of a non-discriminatory global nuclear regime that also takes into account security woes of the small countries.