UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that a misunderstanding could spark nuclear destruction as the United States, Britain and France urged Russia to stop “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour.
” At the opening of a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, Guterres warned that the world faced “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War”.
Citing Russia’s war with Ukraine and tension on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East, Guterres said he ap-prehended that crises “with nuclear undertones” could escalate.
The UN chief has rightly pointed out that eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they would not be used but the question arises what the world body or the world powers are doing to mitigate the risk of a nuclear war or catastrophe.
There is virtually no progress towards the cherished goal of nuclear non-proliferation mainly because of lack of interest on the part of big powers and their own individual agendas and ambitions.
The Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is considered to be the main instrument to help check proliferation, is itself a discriminatory regime as it focuses only on preventing the non-nuclear states from acquiring nuclear weapons, nuclear technology or fissile material and legalizes the growing arse-nals of those who already claim to be the member of the elite nuclear club.
Experts point out that most of the nuclear weapon states are adversaries of each other and use nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
Any technologi-cal advancement by one state is bound to elicit a response by their perceived adversary, albeit within the confines of their technological prowess.
The dynamics between the United States and Russia, the United States and China, the United States and North Korea, India and China, and India and Pakistan exemplify such contentious relationships.
It is also regrettable that there are no credible universal guarantees to the non-nuclear countries against the use of nuclear weapons and threats often hurled by nuclear powers against their rivals and enemies speak volumes about the nature of the problem.
The nuclear threat can only be addressed effectively if non-proliferation takes care of elimination of all available stocks and peaceful resolution of all conflicts that have the potential to trigger a nuclear conflict as is feared in the case of Russia-Ukraine war.