What is NPT ( Non- proliferation Treaty ).

Non Proliferation Treaty,
Non Proliferation Treaty

Non - proliferation Treaty 

NPT is a major non- proliferation instrument to check the spread of nuclear weapons and technology to those countries which do not possess the same. The most important provision of the treaty is that those countries which have not acceded to the treaty are prohibited from any international trade of nuclear material and technology even for the purpose of peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

The NPT has a preamble and 11 articles and entered into force on March 5, 1970. The preamble of the treaty focuses on the prevention of dissemination of nuclear weapons to avoid the danger of nuclear war. However,  it full exchange of information,  technology and material among parties to the treaty for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The brief description of the provisions of different articles of the treaty are given below :

Article- 1 

Nuclear weapon state parties undertake not to transfer any nuclear weapon technology,  weapons or explosive materials to any non-
 nuclear weapon states.
At present for the purpose of this article only 5 countries - US, UK, CHINA ,RUSSIA and FRANCE are recognisedas Nuclear weapon states (NWS) and other countries are Non-Nuclear weapon states (NNWS)

Article -II

Each non- nuclear weapon undertakes not to receive any nuclear weapon or weapon technology from any country directly or indirectly. 

Article -III

Every non - nuclear weapon state would accept the safeguard measures of International Atomic Energy Agency in order to ensure that its peaceful use of nuclear energy is not converted to nuclear weapons programme. Iran is accused of of violating the provision of the treaty. 
Further, any party to the treaty shall not transfer any nuclear technology to a country which has accepted the safeguard mechanism of the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA). Safeguard agreement shall be concluded by each country with the IAEA. It should be noted that India without being a party to NPT, was required to conclude safeguard aggrement with the IAEA before the implementation of the Civil Nuclear aggrement with the USA.

Article -IV

All parties to the treaty subject to above provision shall have inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In fact all the parties undertake to facilitate the exchange of material and technology for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

Article - V

Each party to the treaty is obliged to transfer the peaceful  application of nuclear explosions in non- discriminatory manner and at reasonable cost. This would make easy availability of nuclear technology to non-nuclear weapon state for peaceful purposes.

Article - VI

Each party undertake negotiations in good faith for prevention of arms race and for complete disarmament . There is no time frame to achieve these goals.

Article -VII

Nothing in this treaty will prevent a group of states to conclude regional treaties for establishing regional nuclear free zones.

Article - VIII

It provides for the amendment to the treaty which can be proposed by any party , but shall be approved by the majority of the parties. There is provision for the review conference of the treaty after every five years;  to review how the objectives of the treaties are realized. 

Article -IX

The shall come into force only after three nuclear weapon countries - US , UK and USSR along with 40 other states ratify the treaty . Under this provision the treaty came into force on March 5, 1970 after fulfilling the above condition .

Article X

If the supreme interest of any party are jeopardised by being a party to the treaty auch party may withdraw from the treaty after giving three months advance notice to that effect.


Article -XI

The English, Russian, Spanish, French and Chinese versions shall be authoritative versions of the treaty.

Three Pillars of the Treaty 

On the basis of above provisions of the treaty,  some scholars have identified three pillars of the treaty ----

  1. Non - Proliferation - Meaning prevention of spread of nuclear weapons and technology to non - nuclear states. This is the main theme of the treaty .
  2. Disarmament -  Though treaty talks about negotiations for the complete disarmament there no time limit for such goal or any concrete measure to achieve the objectives of complete disarmament. 
Peaceful use of Nuclear Energy - This is said to be the third pillar of the NPT. The treaty ensures the facilitation of peaceful use of nuclear energy in non- discriminatory manner.  But that has to be pursued under the safeguards of the IAEA.

         However, after going through carefully the provisions of the treaty it can be concluded that its main thrust is non- proliferation, peaceful use of nuclear energy. The provision of disarmament is casual and passing.


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