World

UN votes to start talks on banning nuclear weapons

29 Oct 2016 | By Vijaya

A United Nations committee voted in favor of launching negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming vote of 123 to 38, with 16 abstentions, despite strong opposition from nuclear-armed countries.

4 of the 5 UNSC nuclear members - US, UK, France, Russia, voted against it, while China abstained. India and Pakistan abstained from voting as well.

In context: UN treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons

TreatiesInternational treaties on nuclear weapons

While chemical, and biological weapons are outrightly prohibited under international law, nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction that are not yet outlawed in a comprehensive way.

There are only partial prohibitions on nuclear weapons in the way of multilateral treaties like "Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" (NPT), "Partial Test Ban Treaty" (PTBT) "Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty" (CTBT).

Nine countries that possess nuclear weapons

There are nine known nuclear-armed nations - the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel. There are believed to be more than 16,000 nuclear weapons between these countries and 93% of which are with the US and Russia.
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India not a party to NPT and CTBT

NPT,CTBTIndia not a party to NPT and CTBT

NPT was signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. 190 countries are parties to it. Its objective is to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons.

CTBT was signed in 1996 but is yet to enter into force. It bans all nuclear test explosions. CTBT is one of the most widely supported arms-control treaty.

India is not a party to either of these.

29 Oct 2016UN votes to start talks on banning nuclear weapons

Japan, South Korea voted against UN resolution

Japan which has long argued against nuclear weapons' usage, and South Korea under constant threat from North Korea, have both voted against the UN resolution.

29 Oct 2016What next after the resolution?

The measure was expected to go to the full UN General Assembly vote in late November or early December.

The non-binding UN resolution provides for talks in March 2017 to negotiate a "legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination."

Opponents of the treaty though, argued that "nuclear disarmament should be addressed within negotiation on NPT".