An unprecedented declaration by the five nuclear-armed states never to use nuclear weapons sets the diplomatic stage for security talks between Russia, the US and NATO that will hopefully ease tensions in Europe.
Russia, China, France, the United States and the United Kingdom promised on Monday to prevent the unintended use of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed the Cold War lesson that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
The joint statement was issued prior to a crucial review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has been postponed twice until sometime in 2022. Russian negotiators are also due to meet with US and NATO officials next week to discuss security guarantees which Moscow is seeking from the allies to make sure that NATO will not move troops and weapons to Ukraine.
“Next to the historical character of the general declaration of the five superpowers involved in the non-proliferation treaty under review, it will help in setting the diplomatic scene for the main negotiation between Russia, the USA and hopefully Europe, in order to solve the tense situation,” Michel Liegeois, a professor of geopolitics at Belgium’s UCLouvain university, said.
Liegeois, who heads UCLouvain’s Center for International Crisis and Conflict Studies, told Sputnik that the declaration was a sign of good faith from both sides that showed they were preparing for the upcoming negotiations.
“The declaration means that nuclear weapon will never be used first by any of the signatories… States can clash diplomatically and even militarily, but never with nuclear weapons. Contrary to what some say, I do not believe that we are entering a new Cold War, precisely because of this vision, which was not that of the Cold War,” Liegeois added.
Xavier Moreau, an arms expert and contributor to the blog of French think-tank Stratpol, agreed that the joint statement was an interesting “premiere,” but told Sputnik that it does mean the next renegotiation session of the NPT treaty in New York this year would be successful.
“The US military and politicians have played around with the concept of pre-emptive nuclear strikes in recent years. But the United States has recently realized that their nuclear vectors have become outdated. They are being overtaken by Russian technology, especially hypersonic vectors. The Biden administration speaks aggressively because it knows American weaponry is technologically outdated,” he said.
Moreau believes that the administration of US President Joe Biden realizes that nuclear weapons cannot be deployed on Ukrainian territory, that this is wholly unacceptable to Moscow.
“A phase of intense diplomatic activity is brewing, to follow up on the agreement in principle to start a discussion, reached in June in Geneva by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Biden,” he concluded.
India has welcomed a joint statement put out by the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council on avoiding nuclear war and an arms race.
“We welcome the Joint Statement this week, which reaffirms the importance of addressing nuclear threats, and underscores the desire to work towards creating a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
He also reaffirmed India’s intention as a nuclear state to follow the doctrine of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence based on the “No First Use” principle and not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.
“India remains committed to the goal of universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament,” the spokesman added.
Bagchi also recalled India’s annual resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly – on Reducing Nuclear Danger, which calls for steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons; and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for an international convention prohibiting the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
India will continue to work toward global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, according to the spokesman.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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