Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

2022 JAN 4

Preliminary   > International Relations   >   Agreements   >   Nuclear

Why in news?

  • Five global nuclear powers (permanent members of UNSC) pledged to prevent atomic weapons spreading and to avoid nuclear conflict, in a rare joint statement issued at five yearly review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

About Treaty on Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT):

  • The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Treaty entered into force in 1970.


  • A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.
  • More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance.

Definition of ‘Nuclear’ and ‘Non-Nuclear Weapon States’:

  • The Treaty defines nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those that had manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967. All the other states are therefore considered non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).
  • The five nuclear weapon states under NPT are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Elements of NPT:

  • The multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons including three elements:
    • Non-proliferation
      • Nuclear weapon states are not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons and not to assist, encourage, or induce any NNWS to manufacture or otherwise acquire them.
      • Non-nuclear weapons states are not to receive nuclear weapons from any transferor, and are not to manufacture or acquire them.
      • NNWS must accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear materials on their territories or under their control.
    • Disarmament
      • All Parties must pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
    • Peaceful use of nuclear energy.
      • The Treaty does not affect the right of state parties to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
      • All state parties undertake to facilitate, and have a right to participate, in the exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Review Process:

  • States parties convene every five years to review the implementation of the Treaty and, since 1995, to set a forward-looking agenda.

India’s stand on NPT

  • India is one of the only five countries that did not sign the NPT:
    • Non-signatories include India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India opposed NPT since they were selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimized the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers.


Consider the following statements regarding Treaty on Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT):

1. It is ratified by all permanent members of UNSC

2. The Treaty does not affect the right of state parties to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2