It includes unilateral decisions of states, informal understanding among them and formally negotiated and institutionalized agreements. The stress is on reducing the incentives rather than the capacity for war.
Arms control entails the limitation of certain types of weaponry or reduction of armaments”. Arms control indicates reduction and control of armament. Disarmament is concerned with appeal to continue efforts for continuous reduction of armaments.
It is concerned with reduction of severe dangers occurring out of arms race. However, it must be noted that the two are complementary. Arms control is essentially a move towards disarmament.
Various efforts at arms control can be studied under following heads.
(1) Hague Conference of 1899 and 1907:
First Hague Conference (1899) emphasized on the need to reduce military expenditure and recommended measures for the material and moral welfare of people. The Second Hague Conference (1907) came to the conclusion that disarmament is impracticable in the contemporary phase of arms race.
(2) Washington Conference 1922:
The main aim of the Conference was to fix the naval strength of some countries. Seven treaties were signed and “Nine Power Treaty Limiting Naval Arrangement” was the most impop‘3nt one.
(3) Geneva Conference 1932:
There were 61 participants in the conference. It prohibited certain forms of warfare like dropping bombs from aeroplanes or balloons, use of bacterial or chemical weapons. It also emphasized on the necessity of arms limitation, international supervision of arms business and the publication of arms budget.
(4) Provisions of UN Charter 1948:
To eradicate the evil perpetuated by arms race, various provisions were included in the Charter itself. Article 11, Article 25 and Article 47 specifically deal with the power of General Assembly and Security Council in making efforts towards arms control and disarmament.
(5) Disarmament Commission 1952:
United Nations General Assembly created a Disarmament Commission in 1952 to outline a framework for the regulation of conventional as well as atomic weapons.
Besides these, there were a number of conferences and meetings that sought to promote the arms control. This led to a number of arms control regime symbolized under treaties and conventions. They are discussed under following headings.
(a) Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT):
In 1963 PTBT was signed by Britain, Soviet Union and America. The main provisions were
a. Prohibited nuclear test in territorial atmosphere, outer space and underwater.
b. Prohibited states from undertaking any nuclear test in territorial water and high seas.
c. To prohibit other states from carrying such tests.
China and France evaded the requests to sign the treaty and it failed to make any major breakthrough because nuclear powers continued with underground testing of nuclear weapons.
(b) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):
NPT agreement of July 1968, signed simultaneously at London, Moscow and Washington emphasized on
a. Non-assistance to states not possessing nuclear weapons, in obtaining or producing them.
b. Giving protection to non-nuclear states in case they were subjected to nuclear attack.
c. Giving material and information to signatories for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
d. Accept inspections and supervision by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
However, the treaty do not envisages any programme of disarmament. India, Israel and Pakistan have not signed it on account of what they view as ‘discriminatory provisions’. The Treaty has been extended indefinitely in 1995 by a consensus vote of 174 at UN headquarters in New York.
(c) Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT):
SALT was an outcome of negotiations between two Great powers to curtail the manufacture of strategic missiles. SALT (I) was signed in 1972 and SALT (II) was signed in 1979.
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) was the most important outcome of SALT I. Another important treaty was Interim Agreement and Protocol on Limitation of Strategic offensive weapons.
SALT II treaty set limit on the number of launchers.
(d) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START):
The discussion for START started in Geneva in 1982. American President’s (Reagan) insistence of reduction rather than limitation in existing stockpiles of weapons paved way for this treaty. The treaty was finally agreed in 1991.
By the terms of the treaty Soviet Union was to reduce arsenal of nuclear warheads and bombs from 11,000 to 8,000. U.S.A. was to reduce then from 12,000 to 10,000.
(e) Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC):
CWC came into effect from 1997 and prohibits development, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.
It also calls for destruction of existing stockpile of chemical weapons. The member states are debarred from aiding third world countries in developing these weapons.
They are also obliged to annually report to Central Secretariat at Hague on the production, capacity, location and other information of their chemical stockpiles.
(f) Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):
The treaty came for signature in 1996 with objective of banning all nuclear tests in future by preventing both the horizontal and vertical proliferation and cutting of the production of fissile material.
However the treaty neither presents a time bound programme of total nuclear disarmament, nor does it prohibits laboratory testing and computer simulating.
Moreover, the verification provisions of the treaty are highly objectionable. The Article XV of the treaty having provision of “Entry into Force” infringes with the sovereignty of the member states.
Despite the fact that the prospect of arms control regime is not bright, one cannot deny that they have become matter of utmost importance. It has become the need of the hour that an effort should be made towards comprehensive disarmament.
In order to secure the willing compliance of all the members of the international society, the big powers must shed their complacency and avoid discriminatory agenda. It is only when both, big and small, developed and developing countries come on a common platform that the world could be made genuinely hospitable.
However, there remains question mark as to whether the big powers can give up their rigid stance on these issues.
IAEA—International Atomic Energy Agency:
The IAEA is the world’s centre of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ organisation in 1957 within the United Nations Family
The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide of promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.