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Extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

Extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

Context:

Russia has proposed to extend the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) by one year between the USA and Russia expiring in February 2021.

Details:

  • Russia has extended the proposal along with concerns of a lack of interest from the United States.
  • The USA in 2019 has also suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia.
    • INF Treaty was a nuclear arms-control accord reached by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 in which the two nations agreed to eliminate their stocks of intermediate-range and shorter-range land-based missiles.
  • The United States withdrew from the Treaty on 2nd August 2019.

USA’s Proposal:

  • The USA wanted any replacement treaty should include China.
  • The USA wanted to encompass all of Russia’s nuclear weapons not just the “strategic” weapons covered under New START but also Russia’s sizable stockpile of smaller, “tactical” nuclear weapons that fall outside the treaty.

New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START):

  • The treaty was signed in 2010 in Prague by the United States and Russia and entered into force in 2011.
  • It replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired in 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).
  • The New START is the first verifiable U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty to take effect since START I in 1994.
  • Nuclear warhead limit: The New START limits went into effect that capped deployed strategic nuclear warheads and bombs at 1,550 which is down approximately 30 percent from the 2,200 limits set by SORT.

Missile, bomber, and launcher limits:

  • The deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions are limited to 700.
  • The New START does not limit the number of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but it does monitor them and provide for continuous information on their locations and on-site inspections to confirm that they are not added to the deployed force.
  • The Treaty does not place any constraints on the testing, development, or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or U.S. long-range conventional strike capabilities.

Source: The Hindu