[Answered] Why is the New START nuclear treaty suspended? What could be the possible implications of its suspension?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain why the New START nuclear treaty is suspended. Also write some possible implications of its suspension.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START Treaty) was signed by USA and Russia in 2010. Under the Treaty, America and Russia cannot deploy more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and more than 700 long ­range missiles and bombers. The treaty gave the US and Russia seven years to reduce their stockpiles, including nuclear warheads that are launched using long-range missiles, submarines, and bombers.

Why is the New START nuclear treaty suspended?

  • The Russian President has said that it is suspending the treaty as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the U.S wanted to “inflict ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia and try to get to Russian nuclear facilities at the same time.
  • Russia also accused the U.S. of rejecting Russian requests for visits to specific U.S. facilities. The U.S State Department also stated that Moscow was not complying with the pact as it had not let Washington carry out on-site inspections.

Possible implications of its suspension:

  • The world could, in a worst-case scenario, see a return to a time when two nuclear-armed powers once again get stuck in cycles of escalations and provocations due to unresolvable mutual suspicions regarding the actions of the other side.
  • It would continue abiding by the treaty’s restrictions, a suspension of the treaty may mean that it will be harder for the US to monitor compliance.
  • The Russian President said that the country is not withdrawing from the treaty entirely. But Russia will not allow US countries to inspect its nuclear arsenal.
  • Analysts believe it is entirely symbolic since Russia had not been permitting inspections anyway. As per them, the move appears to be aimed at pressuring the US President and his allies so that Russia can dictate the terms under which the war would come to an end.

The Ukraine-Russia episode shows the dwindling pace of international law and loss of respect towards the sovereignty and integrity of nations. As an incumbent member of the UNSC, India must push for brining the hostilities to an immediate end. At the same time, India should take proactive steps to hedge its interests amid the uncertainties.

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