Raja Mandala: India, China and the INF Treaty :UPSC


What is Important?
UPSC perspective:
Prelims:INF Treaty
Mains:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.


Why in News?

US President Donald Trump’s announcement 10 days ago about American plans to withdraw from the three-decade-old missile treaty with Russia has not got the attention it deserves in Delhi.

What is INF Treaty?

*The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor state the Russian Federation).
*The INF Treaty eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range).
*The treaty did not cover sea-launched missiles. By May 1991, 2,692 missiles were eliminated, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.
* On 20 October 2018, citing Russian non-compliance, US President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the US from the treaty.
*The scope of the US president's ability to withdraw from Senate-approved treaties without Congressional approval has been called into question.

Importance of the treaty

*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
*The US and 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.
* The agreement came in the wake of huge public outcry in Europe in the 1980s at the Russian deployment of the SS-20 ballistic missiles and the US response with Pershing-2 rockets.

What was the problem?

*According to American officials, 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.
*The expansive Chinese land-based intermediate range missile forces threaten the American naval ships deployed in the Western Pacific and target US military bases.
*The vulnerability of American military presence in the Pacific to Chinese missiles, in turn, undermines the credibility of American security commitment to its Asian allies.
*The US military leadership has long sought to lift the limitations imposed by the INF treaty on US missile forces in Asia.

Impact on India

*If the US deploys a new INF in Asia, to enhance its capacity to deter China, Beijing is bound to react.
*The focus of a potential new arms race appears to be less on traditional nuclear-armed missiles, but precise hypersonic missiles (which travel at least five times the speed of sound) equipped with conventional warheads.
*India has an effort underway on hypersonic missiles — part indigenous and part in collaboration with Russia to build on the supersonic Brahmos missiles that travel more than twice as fast as sound.
*As the US conflict with Russia deepens, Delhi’s partnership with Moscow on advanced military systems will come under increasing scrutiny and pressure.
*Russia’s tightening military embrace with China also casts a shadow over defence ties between Delhi and Moscow.
*Delhi, then, will have to think long and hard about its missile programme by focusing on the urgent need to ramp up the domestic effort as well as diversify its international collaboration on hypersonic weapons.

Way Forward:

*Delhi will have to think long and hard about its missile programme by focusing on the urgent need to ramp up the domestic effort as well as diversify its international collaboration on hypersonic weapons.
*India needs a significant force of hypersonic missiles to better control escalation to the nuclear level if there is another Doklam-like military confrontation with China.





Raja Mandala: India, China and the INF Treaty :UPSC Raja Mandala: India, China and the INF Treaty  :UPSC Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on October 30, 2018 Rating: 5

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