- S. is planning to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, after its alleged development and deployment of the Novator 9M729 missile.
- About Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:
- It is a bilateral treaty signed by the US and the USSR in 1987.
- It is a crucial Cold War-era treaty banning the development, testing and possession of short and medium range ground-launched nuclear missiles, except sea-launched weapons, with a range of 500-5,000 km.
- This treaty, signed in 1987, was central to ending the arms race between the two superpowers, and protected America’s NATO allies in Europe from Soviet missile attacks.
- The US insists the Russians have, in breach of the deal, developed a new medium-range missile called the Novator 9M729 – known to Nato as the SSC-8.
- It would enable Russia to launch a nuclear strike at Nato countries at very short notice.
- However, the Russians denied the allegations and raised counter-allegations of the U.S. installing missile defence systems in Europe.
- Impact on USA security:
- The US was considering withdrawing from the treaty in a bid to counter China’s expanding military presence in the western Pacific.
- However, pulling out of INF Treaty may put the US at a disadvantage because China does not face any constraints on developing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in the Pacific as it is not a signatory to INF treaty.
- The last time the US withdrew from a major arms treaty was in 2002, when President George W Bush pulled the US out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which banned weapons designed to counter ballistic nuclear missiles.