U.S. formally withdraws from INF arms treaty

Context

  • The U.S. and Russia ripped up a Cold War-era missile pact in a move that raised the spectre of an arms race between the global superpowers.

About INF Treaty

  • The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
  • Under the INF treaty, the US and formerly Soviet Union agreed not to develop, produce, possess or deploy any ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles that have a range between 500 and 5,500 km.
  • It exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range.
  • The INF treaty helped address the fears of an imminent nuclear war in Europe.
  • It also built some trust between Washington and Moscow and contributed to the end of the Cold War.

Drawbacks in the treaty

  • It left the other nuclear weapon powers free to develop ground-based intermediate-range forces
  • In the age of nuclear superpowers, it did not seem to matter.
  • Since then, many countries have developed missiles in the range of 500 to 5,500 km, including India, Pakistan and North Korea.
  • Nearly 90 per cent of China’s vast missile armoury — estimated at around 2,000 rockets — is in the intermediate range and would be illegal if Beijing were to be a part of the INF treaty.

Row over a missile

  • Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up.
  • The missile has a range of about 1,500 kilometres according to NATO, though Moscow says it can only travel 480 kilometres.
  • Russia had failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system.

Source:TH