A Glimpse of US – Russia Relation and INF (Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) - Seeker's Thoughts

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A Glimpse of US – Russia Relation and INF (Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces Treaty)


A Glimpse of US – Russia Relation and INF (Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Post world war- II, two superpowers have been on two poles. There have been cold war between two, and one after another, they often find reasons to come to a conflict politically. Both of countries have competed with one another in matters of arms, and scientific discoveries. 

 During 1987, a treaty was signed, and 2018- Donald Trump threatened to withdraw from the treaty.


What is the Treaty?
The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

First Agreement to reduce Nuclear Agreement
The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification. As a result of the INF Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.

Despite its name, the INF Treaty covers all types of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles — whether their payload is conventional or nuclear. Moscow and Washington are prohibited from deploying these missiles anywhere in the world, not just in Europe.  
Note -However, the treaty applies only to ground-launched systems. Both sides are free to deploy air- and sea-launched missiles within the 500-to-5,500-kilometer range.

The present Conflict
The INF has been a topic of contention since around 2007 when Russian president Vladimir Putin had said that the US had violated the treaty after it withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002.
The United States first alleged in its July 2014 Compliance Report that Russia is in violation of its INF Treaty obligations. Subsequent State Department assessments in 2015, 2016, and 2017 repeated these allegations.
Russia denies that it is in violation of the agreement. On December 8, 2017, the Trump administration released a strategy to counter alleged Russian violations of the Treaty. U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he would “terminate” the INF Treaty in response to a long-running dispute over Russian noncompliance with the treaty.


 What are the military implications of withdrawal?
It is unclear what INF-prohibited systems could do. The United States could deploy missiles to Europe or Asia in the near term.
The U.S. military has not developed any land-based missiles within the prohibited ranges for decades and has only just started funding a new ground-launched cruise missile to match the 9M729.
Moscow is in a very different position and could rapidly expand its nuclear arms. The number of operational 9M729 missiles has been quite limited, but released from its official obligations under the treaty, Moscow could produce more units rapidly, even supply or can deploy in any part of the world.
Russia could also effectively reclassify the RS-26 Rubezh, an experimental system that has been tested just above the INF Treaty’s 5,500-kilometer limit.
 To avoid violating the INF, Russian officials previously described the RS-26 as an intercontinental ballistic missile. However, it could form the basis for a missile of a slightly shorter range if Russia wished to boost its INF forces.

What are the diplomatic implications of withdrawal?
Withdrawal is likely to be controversial with U.S. allies in NATO, further splitting the alliance at a difficult time for transatlantic relations. Many Western European NATO states favor retaining the INF.
This raises concerns that divisions within NATO may worsen when the United States officially withdraws from the INF.
Withdrawal will probably not lead to a new INF deal. Given its heavy investment in intermediate-range systems, China will not take up Trump’s offer of talks with the United States and Russia. Moscow seems to be in no mood for negotiations.

Other Obligations
Trump’s move is also likely to undermine the 2010 New START treaty governing U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear systems. The INF Treaty’s withdrawal will threaten or end the New START by reopening questions on the relationship between intermediate and strategic systems that have been resolved for 30 years by the elimination of ground-based, intermediate-range missiles.

Conclusion
The treaty is significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a co-signatory of the INF treaty also said that Trump’s plan to quit the treaty was a mistake. "Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements.