NPT Reviews Conference 2000: What Lies In Store?

Manpreet Sethi, Research Officer, IDSA


The NPT is going to be under scrutiny at the quinquennial Review Conference (RevCon) scheduled from April 24 to May 19 this year. If one is to go by what transpired during the three preparatory committee (PrepCom) meetings held over the last three years, then the RevCon can be expected to be an acrimonious affair that might end up generating more heat than light. It can be expected that the Conference will expose sharp differences of opinion on substantive matters as it struggles to grapple with thorny issues that were cleverly shunted to the 2000 Conference by an exasperated third PrepCom. Consequently, the Conference can expect to find itself in choppy waters. However, what transpires here will have a direct bearing on the future of the treaty.

This shall be the first RevCon to be held after the NPT secured its indefinite and unconditional extension in 1995. Also, it shall be for the first time that the efficacy of the Strengthened Review Process and its Principles and Objectives would be put to test. These two steps had been agreed to in 1995 by the NWS and have since been widely come to be perceived as concessions made by them to secure the treaty's extension. The former was designed to provide an alternative means of generating political leverage over the NWS by guaranteeing accountability for the full implementation of non-proliferation and disarmament provisions. Meanwhile, the statement of Principles and Objectives was meant to offer a more focussed method of addressing non-proliferation and disarmament issues by providing benchmarks against which to measure the implementation of the NPT.

The idea had then been that the first PrepCom would start a rolling text covering the subject matter of the treaty which would be worked upon by each successive PrepCom. Consequently, by the end of the third PrepCom, a set of agreed recommendations would be ready to be placed before the RevCon. But no such thing happened as the very issue of having a rolling text got embroiled over the kind of recommendations that could be made and the status that they should be accorded. Consequently, while some considered that the recommendations would have to be included in any RevCon outcome, others argued against it, upholding the independence of the RevCon and that it could not be bound by PrepCom recommendations.

In the end, therefore, the third PrepCom too was unable to transmit any recommendations of substance. In a vague delineation of RevCon tasks, it was decided that the meeting would evaluate the results of the past five years and identify future action, as well as examine the functioning of the review process and address what might be done to strengthen the implementation of the treaty and achieve universality. Other questions that have been deferred to 2000 include: the role of the PrepComs, particularly Canada's proposal for statements on contemporary events; the structure for debate and review of the treaty and the principles and objectives; and the issue of the institution of subsidiary bodies.

The task of the RevCon can be expected to have been further complicated by the changes, mostly adverse, that have affected the international security environment over the last half a decade. At the time of the last RevCon, the international community had still been in the grip of an euphoria at the end of the Cold War. With the dying down of the danger of a bipolar nuclear confrontation, it was beginning to be surmised that the coming years would see an unprecedented era of international cooperation and partnership. In such an environment, contemplation on the possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons was fast proliferating especially since at the NPT extension conference, the NWS had reaffirmed their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

However, the euphoria has since dissipated. This time when the member states assemble to review the NPT, it shall be in the shadow of a host of new developments that have adversely impacted upon the chances of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The article proposes to highlight and analyse some of these issues in order to surmise what could be their impact on the future of the NPT. Can their impact be strong enough to unravel the treaty that has long been held out as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime? Or, could the non nuclear weapon states (NNWS) succeed in pushing forth some of their demands? Or, would the whole review exercise just end at a stalemate as it has so often done in the past—with little progress on substantive matters and weak and vague promises from the nuclear weapon states (NWS)?

Looking at the various future scenarios for the NPT could be of special relevance to India, a nation that has long and consistently pointed out the shortcomings in the treaty. Limitations of the NPT as well as differences over its ultimate objectives are beginning to be realised by some of the treaty parties too, as is evident from a division within the ranks of the NPT member states that is now in the open. A divergence in opinion is most apparent on the issue of nuclear disarmament and it would be in India's interest to seize the initiative on this. In fact, if a realistic proposal to attain a nuclear weapons free world (NWFW) can be articulated and forcefully pushed, the support of the disillusioned NNWS could be counted upon. And, it is only through a collective and determined offensive against the nuclear weapon states that their stubborn resistance to renouncing nuclear weapons can be overcome.

Changes in the post-1995 International Environment

All through the years of its existence, threats to the NPT have always been deemed to be arising from without—from nations refusing to accept the treaty and its safeguards regime. Efforts, therefore, have remained concentrated on ensuring the universality of the treaty. In the years preceding the extension of the treaty, these attempts were further intensified so that by 1995, 175 nations had joined the NPT. And, since then the numbers have risen to 187, leaving only 4 countries out of the NPT fold. Out of these four, three are already known to be nuclear weapons capable, and the fourth one, Cuba, is out of the regime for reasons other than its desire to develop nuclear weapons.

As a result, it should be safe to assume that horizontal nuclear proliferation should not really be a matter of concern. But this is unfortunately not the case. Nuclear proliferation remains a distinct possibility and the US, the most vociferous spokesman for the need to check it has been most concerned with the cases of Iraq, North Korea and now even Iran and Libya. Why should this be so since these countries are already NPT members and cannot legitimately pursue a nuclear weapons programme?

To some extent, the responsibility for this should be placed at the doorstep of the NWS themselves since they have done little to bring down the role and importance of nuclear weapons in the post-1995 period. On the contrary, their actions, the revised nuclear doctrines that have been put forth and the international security environment that has since shaped up has only added to the salience of these weapons of mass destruction and raised their credence in the eyes of military planners worldwide. The following paragraphs recount some of these developments.

Less than two years after President Clinton reaffirmed US commitment to the pursuit of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally at the NPT Extension Conference, he took a step heading in precisely the other direction. In November 1997 he signed a Presidential Decision Directive 60 that affirmed US reliance on nuclear arms as a cornerstone of its national security for the "indefinite future." The same point had been made little more than a year earlier by the annual report of the Department of the Defence released in March 1996. It had categorically stated that notwithstanding the transformed international scenario in the post-Cold War period, "strategic nuclear deterrence remains a key US military priority"1 Such statements illustrate the importance that US strategic thinking still attaches to the national nuclear arsenal. In fact, this attachment has been amply demonstrated in a number of documents that have originated from within the Clinton administration over the last half a decade.

For instance, the document crafted by the White House detailing a national security strategy for the 21st Century has explicitly stated that "nuclear weapons serve as a hedge against an uncertain future, a guarantee of our security commitments to allies and a disincentive to those who would contemplate developing or otherwise acquiring their own nuclear weapons…The United States must continue to maintain a robust triad of strategic forces…We must also ensure the continued viability of the infrastructure that supports US nuclear forces and weapons."2 Entrenched in such thinking Washington has refused to consider making any unequivocal no-first-use pledge.

Rather, it has also prevented NATO from undertaking a no-first-use commitment despite some Alliance members being in favour of it. It fact, prior to the NATO Summit held in Washington to celebrate the Alliance's 50th anniversary, Germany and Canada had pressed for a discussion of the organisation's policy of first use of nuclear weapons—a principle that clashes with a number of politically binding assurances granted by the US, France and UK to the NNWS party to the NPT. However, no change in policy was made and instead, the new strategic concept endorsed at the Summit reaffirmed its faith in the deterrence value of nuclear weapons. The new document made it explicitly clear that "Nuclear weapons make a unique contribution in rendering the risks of aggression against the Alliance incalculable and unacceptable. Thus, they remain essential to preserve peace.3 Furthermore, para 62 of the Strategic Concept stipulates:

The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. They will continue to fulfill an essential role by ensuring uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor…"

Such a stance can hardly be expected to act as a disincentive to other countries that do not yet have a nuclear weapons capability, but are desirous of achieving it.

At the same time, the other NATO principle that holds significance for the future of non-proliferation relates to nuclear sharing. US maintains that NATO remains the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the basic hinge of transatlantic security. It is clearly stated in the alliance strategy that the "presence of US conventional and nuclear forces in Europe remains vital to the security of Europe, which is inseparably linked to that of North America.4 Consequently, Washington remains bound to maintaining nearly 100,000 military personnel in Europe to fulfill its commitment towards NATO. But, this concept of nuclear sharing has invited severe criticism at the NPT Preparatory Committee meetings. In fact, in 1995 itself at the time of the NPT Extension conference, Mexico had questioned NATO's arrangement for American weapons to be stationed in Europe. At the 1998 2nd PrepCom, NAM countries collectively opposed "nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements." It demanded a complete renunciation of the existing arrangements. However, a month before meeting for the 3rd PrepCom, the new concept ignored all these demands to affirm, "The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the US…"5 Given such intransigence, it was not surprising that the third PrepCom witnessed angry outbursts on the issue of nuclear sharing. Algeria criticised the concept for reaffirming the essential importance of nuclear weapons, thereby contradicting by word and deed the hopes of eventual nuclear disarmament cherished by many countries. Mongolia too cautioned that the NATO action could provoke other NWS to adopt similar policies and the NNWs to question the very utility of the NPT.6 Egypt recommended that the PrepCom should adopt an interpretation of the NPT that would outlaw current NATO practices and possible future European Union nuclear weapons cooperation.7

Another development threatening non-proliferation is seen looming large in the shape of NATO enlargement. NATO itself sees this as a crucial element to safeguard European security against potential threats. However, its decision to take in nine more nations, besides the three new members is perceived as a threat by others, particularly Russia. The danger from such a move was brought into clearer focus when NATO decided to intervene in Kosovo, bypassing the UN Security Council. Fears of future NATO action in out-of-area mode severely strained US-Russian relations. China too castigated the US-NATO action in Kosovo and was further agitated when three NATO missiles mistakenly struck its embassy in Belgrade. China's ambassador at the third PrepCom accused the US of "trying to build security on the insecurity of others, of undermining international peace and security and impairing efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.8

That the US might indeed be trying to attain absolute security for itself is further reflected in the huge amounts being allocated for defence spending. It has been announced that an additional $300 million would be pumped into the US defence budget by 2003. This statement, however, must be seen in the light of the fact that the US defence budget is already 18 times that of the combined spending of the Pentagon-identified rogue states.9 If the militarily most powerful nation still needs to spend so much for safeguarding its security then the militarily inferior nations can hardly be expected to have any choice but to increase their budget allocations for national defence.

Even more alarming is the possibility of the US going ahead with the deployment of its national missile defence (NMD) system. As the US moves closer to sanctioning NMD deployment once its technological feasibility stands proven by June 2000, the Russians and the Chinese have begun to feel threatened. Although, the US has premised its NMD on the threats from missiles that could be targeted at it from states such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, or Libya, Russia is apprehensive of possible US motives in overplaying these threats to build an NMD that would eventually be used to further blunt Russian military teeth by depriving it of the capability to deliver massive retaliation. Moscow fears this would eventually undermine what it considers its legitimate role in international relations.

China feels much the same and is trying to beef up its own military capabilities and defences. Beijing has criticised the proposed US endeavour as an unacceptable effort designed to achieve strategic superiority in the 21st century. It states that, "it will disrupt global and regional strategic balances and stability, and possibly trigger off a new round of arms race.10 Indeed, a new arms race would become inevitable which would slowly encompass new nations and trigger WMD proliferation.

There has even been some talk of a joint Sino-Russian missile defence as one of the several possible countermeasures against an American NMD. (On another front, Russia has also hinted at its intention to resume military-technical cooperation with Iran, suspended four years ago under American pressure.) Under the joint defence, Russia will allow China to use its space based navigation system (GLONASS) for military purposes which would enhance China's defence capabiity11 This would obviously have its implications for India's security, considering that China lays claims to some portions of Indian territory. India would have to reassess its military capabilities, which expectedly would cause a similar reaction in Pakistan.

Within Europe meanwhile, France is apprehensive of the fact that if Russia builds more ICBMs as a result of American missile defence plans, the French deterrent would become weaker. It also fears that once put in place, a US missile shield could decouple the US from Europe by leading to a mindset that feels secure in "Fortress America", leaving Europe to its plight. While these fears might be exaggerated, they did lead in November 1999, at the Franco-British summit, to a serious consideration of the establishment of a rapid reaction force of some 50-60,000 personnel, deployable within 60 days to undertake the full range of crisis management operations in Europe.12 The EU high representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy apprised the NATO foreign ministers one month later on European plans to develop an autonomous capability to conduct crisis response operations. Whether these plans materialise or not, they do underscore the efforts being made by each international player to brace itself against the proposed American action.

The measures also reveal attempts to pile up the relevant bargaining chips in order to be ready to strike the right deal when the moment of truth arrives. For instance, Russia has already refused to ratify START II unless the anti ballistic missile (ABM) treaty, in force since 1972, is left untouched. This agreement permits Russia and the US to build a regional shield for the defence of parts of their territory, but contains limitations to prevent either from building a foundation for nationwide defence. START III is out of the question and a Russian withdrawal from its commitments under START I has also been mentioned.

At the same time, Russian diffidence at such US and NATO actions and a deterioration in its conventional military capability has found its reflection in the Russian nuclear and military doctrines that have been officially put forth in 1997, 1999 and 2000. In fact, the importance that it attaches to its nuclear arsenal has progressively increased with each new document outlining the doctrine. In 1997, Russia had withdrawn its no-first-use pledge and made it known that it would resort to the use of nuclear weapons only when the country's national sovereignty and survival were at stake. Subsequently, on April 29, 1999 Russia's Security Council held a special meeting with President Yeltsin to discuss the Russian nuclear policy. In the wake of the unfurling developments, the meeting reaffirmed nuclear weapons as a "key element" of Russian security and "vowed to continue to maintain and develop, including through sub-critical testing, the strategic arsenal.13 On the same occasion, the Russian President also signed a decree outlining a concept for the development and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, ostensibly in a bid to overcome the deterioration in Russian conventional weaponry.14 Going even further the most recently put out "Concept of National Security" legitimises the use of nuclear weapons to repel any attack on its territory if other military means at its disposal have failed. Therefore, the new Russian nuclear doctrine has considerably lowered the threshold for first use of nuclear weapons. China, meanwhile has announced its inability to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile nuclear material for weapons. China continues its efforts at building and refining its nuclear arsenal. Its attempts in this direction, resorting to even espionage in American laboratories came into focus earlier this year with the release of the report prepared by the Select Committee on US National Security and Military Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China. The point that the article wishes to make is that recent American actions can only strengthen China's resolve to enhance its nuclear and missile capability and this would in turn have obvious proliferation implications for the South Asian region.

India has consistently expressed its frustration at the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament. In fact, this along with growing regional security concerns were the main reasons leading it to test its nuclear weapons in May 1998. Thereafter it declared itself a nuclear weapons state and expressed its intention to develop a minimum credible nuclear deterrent. Pakistan too is sure to be engaged in a similar endeavour after demonstrating its nuclear capability soon after the Indian nuclear tests. More recently, in fact disturbing news has been filtering in on Pakistani attempts to smuggle in nuclear material for weapons. On July 26, 1999 about 20 tonnes of material and components apparently intended for the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme was intercepted by British customs authorities from a ship on its way from the US. The material included high grade aluminium which figures on the trigger list of dual purpose items that require special licenses for export.

At the same time, overall, there is less evidence of faith in the ability of treaties banning chemical and biological weapons to be able to keep them out of war fighting. And, as a consequence, there is greater emphasis and a renewed faith in deterrence, while issues of arms control and nuclear disarmament get swept out.

Adding up to a formidable total, these developments have the potential to spell doom for nuclear non-proliferation. That all is not well with the regime bearing responsibility for non-proliferation, the NPT became pretty much evident at the three PrepComs. The turn that events took at the third PrepCom provide ample proof that though the NNWS might have granted the NPT an indefinite extension, they are not going to be indefinitely satisfied by the lack of sensitivity of the NWS to genuine non-proliferation and disarmament. The RevCon, therefore, as it takes place at a time of turbulence in nuclear thinking will have to conduct a fair amount of soul searching. The following section enumerates some of the more important issues that are likely to predominate in the RevCon proceedings.

Issues Likely to Derail the NPT

Nuclear Disarmament

The experience of the three Prepcoms throws up the issue of nuclear disarmament as the one that will most likely generate much debate. The differences on this subject result from a divergence in the way it is perceived by different states. On the one hand, Western NWS have always taken recourse in recounting the progress already made in this direction by playing up START 1 and 2 and the CTBT etc. The US, for instance, has never tired of pointing out that it has reduced from its Cold War peak 90 per cent of its non-strategic nuclear stockpile and 47 per cent of its strategic nuclear stockpile."15 France too, on behalf of the other NWS has highlighted the important and tangible progress achieved so far and vaguely pledged to continue "systematic and progressive efforts." For further progress, the NWS insist on regional stability as a precondition for nuclear disarmament. The United States has made it clear that "nuclear disarmament will not take place on demand, but could only come about as a consequence of conventional disarmament and regional stabiity."16 Therefore, it has been exhorting the NNWS to remain realistic about the pace of progress in the near term. France too has stated that "It is the responsibility of all states to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and to the strengthening of international peace and security.

Such a contention, however, has been strongly objected to by Canada. Supported among others by Japan, China, South Africa and New Zealand, it has denied that nuclear disarmament could be achieved only when general and complete disarmament had been accomplished. In a strongly worded statement, the Canadian representative said, "We do not accept any explicit or implicit linkage, or interpretation of Article VI, that nuclear disarmament will be achieved only when general and complete disarmament has been achieved, or when every last bow and arrow or Swiss Army knife is gone."17

Other NNWS too have been pushing for concrete movement on nuclear disarmament, through not entirely in a unified manner. For instance, Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has sought negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time frame. Ireland brought into focus that the PrepCom should not ignore "external opinion" on nuclear disarmament, such as that of the International Court of Justice, the Canberra Commission, or the Programme of Action tabled by a group of 28 nations calling for elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Mexico too supported this viewpoint. It categorically insisted on adding nuclear disarmament to the list of recommendations to be presented by the first PrepCom to its successor on the ground that the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the ICJ held the threat or use of nuclear weapons in contravention of International and humanitarian law."18

In the wake of these differences in positions on the issue of nuclear disarmament, the first PrepCom could formulate only a lame working paper that was put forth to the next meeting. Differences continued to plague the Second PrepCom that called upon the CD to commence negotiations on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament to be attained within a specific time frame. However, the approach NAM favoured was a comprehensive one rather than the incremental one. The latter, they feared, would allow the NWS to keep their nuclear weapons, even at reduced numbers into the indefinite future.

This approach, naturally enough was opposed by the NWS. UK, on behalf of all the Western nuclear powers, made it clear that, "To refocus now on rigid time frames or single instruments would be to jettison a tried and tested method for moving towards our goal in order to repeat the errors of the past."19 Russia too voiced its opposition to granting too much importance to the attainment of nuclear disarmament. The PrepCom was informed by the Russian delegate that "We believe it is untimely and, consequently, counterproductive to start talks at the Conference on Disarmament on a programme for nuclear disarmament within specific time limits. We are convinced that it is not the right time to be seriously engaged in something that could even hardly acquire practical grounds during the first decade of the next century."20

The differences of opinion on the subject were translated into the responses made to the Working Paper put forth by the Chairman at the end of the third PrepCom. The paper devoted five paragraphs to nuclear disarmament. These ranged from general declarations of "unequivocal commitment" to eliminating nuclear weapons, to more specific calls, including ratification of the CTBT, immediate negotiations on the FMCT, further progress on START, and increased transparency on the dismantling of tactical nuclear weapons.21 It did not come as a surprise that one or more of the NWS objected to nearly each one of the paragraphs on nuclear disarmament, except the ones that recognised the measures undertaken by the NWS, unilaterally and under the START process, and those that urged the early entry into force of the CTBT and called for negotiations on the FMCT. USA and Russia objected to recommending a subsidiary body at the RevCon or for allocating special time at subsequent PrepComs for deliberating upon steps to eliminate nuclear weapons. France expressed its objections to making any unequivocal commitment to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons and China objected to the call on all the NWS to "declare collectively a moratorium on the production of such material for such devices."

If the NWS continue to exhibit the same callousness and casual approach toward their commitment to Article VI of the NPT, then disenchantment with the NPT can only be expected to grow. In this context, it would be instructive to recall the perceptive words of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala (President of the 1995 NPTREC):

"If there is naked cynicism on the part of the nuclear-weapon States and a total disregard of nuclear disarmament commitments…then we might see not just one or two countries for individual reasons wanting to opt out…but a major threat of an exodus from the treaty using Article X.1 as an exit clause…is a very grave danger. We must never ever let the Treaty be in jeopardy, and for that there has to be progress in nuclear disarmament."

The Middle East

The other important issues on which the RevCon can expect to find itself in trouble relates to the Middle East, especially to Israel's nuclear weapons. In 1995, with the explicit intention of garnering the support of Egypt and other Arab states, the US had accepted a resolution on the Middle East calling for "the establishment by regional parties of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems."22 Drawing upon this resolution, Egypt and other Arab states have sought that the NPT must exhort Israel by name to join it. However, the US has resisted these attempts, taking the view that the Middle East resolution was separate from the 1995 package of extension and review decisions and had no standing beyond that date.23

In fact, the breaking point for the 1998 PrepCom came over this issue, when the NPT states while debating a Canadian proposal for a Chair's paper found themselves deadlocked over the provision of background documentation on Middle East. While the 14 Arab states, backed by NAM requested for background documentation, the US refused to comply, holding that background documentation should be limited to addressing Treaty articles only. It opined that though the Resolution had been agreed at the 1995 Extension Conference it was inappropriate to have documentation on an issue not referred to in the treaty itself.24 Therefore, the US refused to accept the reference to Middle East in the Canadian paper, even though the language did not go beyond the 1995 Middle East resolution. Meanwhile NAM asserted that if this was not passed it would not agree to any substantive item and Egypt and Iran made it known that the acceptance of the Middle East language was the unmovable bottom line. By the third PrepCom, however, the US had agreed to allow background documentation on this issue. But it can be expected that the question of Israel's compliance with the NPT will visit the RevCon.


Despite the three PrepComs held to ensure smooth sailing for the 2000 Review Conference, it can be anticipated that the RevCon might still find itself groping in the dark. The Prepcoms met with little success and going by their experience, the RevCon will be approached with some amount of skepticism. At the same time, it would be even more imperative that the RevCon be a success if the NPT is to be saved from unravelling. Meetings ending in deadlocks too often would surely lower the credibility of the treaty and dilute compliance with it. Should some States fail to faithfully live up to their commitments, it would be only natural to assume that others too would be tempted to take their obligations lightly.

The forthcoming RevCon indeed has its work cut out for itself at a time when the temptation to proliferate has been heightened by the events of the past couple of years. It would have to not only perform its traditional roles of reviewing the past year and looking forward effectively, but also initiate a process to restore the faith of the members in the efficacy of the review process itself. A feeling of frustration with the lack of progress within the NPT could push countries into reviewing the usefulness of their continued subscription to the treaty, especially since there seems to be no hope of its ever achieving the objective of complete disarmament. Ambassador Mark Moher, Canada's permanent representatives to the CD made this point clearly when he stated that:

There are some very significant challenges in front of this regime. I do not think anyone should ever operate on the assumption that a treaty is above question. As long as people see a reasonable return on their investment, they will continue to participate. If they perceive that the Treaty is not living upto their expectations, they may reconsider.25

However, the point to ponder over is what could be the nature of this reconsideration and what options could it throw up. Having mandated its indefinite extension, do the NNWS enjoy any leverage to get the NWS to consider their demands? While there is nothing to convey whether the NNWS would collectively take such a step or not, there are some options that they could consider. For instance, they do have a right to call for an amendment conference in which a programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons could be accorded a more significant and concrete shape. Under Article VIII of the NPT, any state party to the treaty can request for such a conference and then, if the demand is supported by one third or more of the states, the depositary states would be obliged to convene an amendment conference.26 Also, the NNWS carry the option of withdrawing from the treaty. In fact, this has begun to be thrown up as a possible means of effectively influencing the NWS into becoming serious over the realisation of an NWFW.27

While India may not be a party to the treaty, both these options could prove to be beneficial for India's long and steady campaign for nuclear disarmament. India can make use of the growing disenchantment with the intransigence of the NWS on the issue of nuclear disarmament. Moreover, increasingly practical proposals are now beginning to be made. It could let it be known it would support movement in this direction.

In the end, it need only be pointed out that the forthcoming RevCon shall be of crucial importance for the future of the NPT. There were several who, after the extension of the NPT, described 1995 as the high point of global efforts to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and to move towards global disarmament. Indeed, while the 1995 Conference may have technically and legally secured the treaty's indefinite extension, the 200 RevCon shall actually test whether such an extension is practically feasible in the wake of a host of adversely impacting developments.



1. The report as quoted in Office of the Secretary of Defence, Nuclear Weapons Systems Sustainment Programs, (Washington DC.: Department of Defence, May 1997) Emphasis added.

2. "A National Security Strategy for a New Century", a White House document, October 1998, as reproduced in Strategic Digest, vol. XXIX, no. 4, April 1999.

3. Emphasis added. "The Alliance's Strategic Concept", NATO Press Release, NAC-S (99) 65, April 24, 1999. As reproduced in Strategic Digest vol. XXIX, no. 6, June 1999.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. NATO Nuclear Policies Slammed at Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom, "PENN Press Release, May 11, 1999 at <http//>

7. "Egypt proposes ending NATO nuclear sharing", PENN Press Release, May 12, 1999 at <http//>

8. Douglas Roche, "Analysis of NPT PrepCom III", see <http//>

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Vladimir Radynhin, Russia moots joint missile defence system with China, Russia Today < January 24, 2000.

12. George Bunn, "Does NMD stand for, "No more disarmament" as well as "National Missile Defence"? Disarmament Diplomacy Issue No. 42, http://www.>.

13. "Russia stresses Nuclear Weapons as START II Languishes", Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 37, <http//>

14. "Yeltsin Signs Decree on Tactical Nuclear Weapons", Arms Control Today, April/May 1999.

15. Ibid.

16. Douglas Roche, An Analysis of the First Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2000 Review of the Non Proliferation Treaty http://www.waster

17. Ibid.

18. It need be mentioned that in its testimony before the ICJ, Mexico had warned that it was not ready to accept a monopoly in the possession of nuclear weapons and that if the nuclear disarmament obligations of the NPT were not met, it would "need to revise our continuation as party to the Treaty".

19. Douglas Roche, An Analysis of the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2000 Review of the Non Proliferation Treaty, http://www/watser

20. Ibid.

21. Chairman's Working Paper, May 14, 1999,

22. Resolution on the Middle East reported in the Final Document of the Conference as NPT/CONF. 1995/32/RES. 1, May 11, 1995.

23. Rebecca, Johnson, "The 1999 PrepCom: Substantive Issues", Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue no. 36,

24. USA has maintained that the resolution on the Middle East was a "one-off stand alone resolution" and not part of the package of decisions to extend the Treaty.

25. Stephen Young, "1999 NPT PrepCom: Keys to Success", Occasional Papers on International Security BASIC, no. 30, April 1999.

26. This aspect has been brought out by Zia Mian and M V Ramana, "Diplomatic Judo: Using the NPT to make the NWS Negotiate the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons".

27. Frank Blackaby, "Time for a Peasant's Revolt", Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.