New arms race makes world more dangerous - GulfToday

New arms race makes world more dangerous


Vladimir Putin. File

It is hugely distressing that after decades of momentum towards a nuclear-free world, progress has stalled and fears for safety of humanity have increased. 

The collapse of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia has fuelled worries about a new arms race and made the world a more dangerous place to live in.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would produce missiles that were banned under the Cold-War era nuclear pact that ended last month, though he also mentioned that Moscow would not deploy them unless the United States did so first.

In March 2018, Putin had announced the development of a whole new line of “invincible” strategic nuclear weapons, including a new ICBM, a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a plane-launched hypersonic missile and an underwater nuclear drone ominously called the “Poseidon.”

Last month, the United States tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit a target more than 500 km away, a test that would have been prohibited under the INF.

The pact banned land-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

For years, Washington has accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up.

Putin has stated that he offered US President Donald Trump in a recent phone call the chance to buy one of the hypersonic nuclear weapons Moscow is developing. Trump is said to have spurned the offer indicating that Washington is making its own.

Putin has also expressed fears that an arms race could spread into space and that Washington could develop a new space weapon.

Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous enemies of humanity. Nuke weapons have the potential to destroy an entire city killing millions, cause inconceivable damage to environment and ruin the lives of future generations with long-term catastrophic effects.

On another front, North Korea is adding to worries by pressing ahead with its nuclear weapons programme while evading sanctions, as per a United Nations report, following a series of recent test-launches that have been downplayed Trump.

The reclusive regime has declared a moratorium on nuclear blasts and long-range missile launches, and last year said its Punggye-ri atomic bomb test site would be dismantled as it was no longer needed.

But the latest report by a panel of experts, published on Thursday, indicates that despite these moves, Pyongyang’s development of nuclear warheads had not stopped.

Since its entry-into-force on June 1, 1988, the Cold War-era arms control contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability internationally and especially in Europe, playing an important role in reducing risk, building confidence and helping to bring the Cold War to an end.

There is no alternative to dialogue on nuclear arms control. Risk-reduction measures, including transparency in nuclear-weapon programmes and further cut in all types of nuclear weapons is the best way forward. Leaders should keep the dialogue process alive.

The legacy of nuclear testing is nothing but destruction, and in a world of rising tensions, our collective security depends on bringing a global treaty into force that bans nuclear explosions, as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out recently.

There is unquestionably an urgent need for disarmament of all kinds.

A nuclear arms race is a matter that should worry each and every living individual.

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