THE first ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons entered into force on Friday has been hailed as a historic step to rid the world of deadliest weapons. The Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is now part of international law, culminating a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing repetition of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II in 1945. But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate.
When the UN General Assembly first approved the treaty in July 2017, more than 120 countries approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons supported it and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance. About 61 nations have so far ratified the treaty that requires them to never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons. It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries. The treaty is very significant as elimination of nuclear weapons is vital to the survival of life on this planet. Especially in today’s world tense international security environment with rising friction between major powers such a step is necessary than ever before.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of an extremist government like the one in India pose a far greater threat to the whole world. In fact it was because of Indian pursuit for nuclear weapons that Pakistan also had to embark upon the nuclear programme for deterrence. The nuclear risk can only be removed by completely eliminating nuclear weapons. As also stated by the UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres all the countries should work together to realise this vision for our common security and collective safety. There is no denying the fact that the TPNW will only remain ineffective and only a piece of paper until and unless major powers especially the United States and Russia also come on board and sign the accord. The US is the only country that spread catastrophe and killed hundreds of thousands of people through the use of nuclear weapons in Japan. Time has come for the US to clear this black spot on its face by leading the efforts towards nuclear disarmament if it really cares for the humanity and its future.
We understand being a super power, it will be a very difficult decision for Washington but if it really cares for humanity and its future it will have to take this decision to make the disarmament efforts fruitful. While we commend the United Nations efforts in this regard, the world body must actively engage with major powers and compel them to ratify the TPNW. In fact a mammoth campaign needs to be started in these countries to garner public support on the matter.