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Describe in detail the issues of nuclear proliferation and existing control mechanisms. । UPPSC General Studies-III Mains Solutions 2020


Describe in detail the issues of nuclear proliferation and existing control mechanisms.

( UPPSC, UP PCS Mains General Studies-III/GS-3 2020)


Nuclear proliferation refers to the spread of nuclear weapons and technology to countries or non-state actors that do not have them. It is a significant global concern due to the destructive potential of nuclear weapons and the risks associated with their spread.

As of now, Countries that are also nuclear states are the USA, Russia, the UK, Germany, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea. So, there are 10 countries in the world that hold nuclear weapons.

Here are some key issues related to nuclear proliferation and the existing control mechanism-

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): The prominent international effort to prevent the Proliferation of nuclear weapons is Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970. The treaty has three main pillars-Non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. It considered only five countries namely the USA, UK, Russia, France, and China as nuclear states. It promotes not acquiring nuclear weapons for non-nuclear states and also promotes commitment to the disarmament of nuclear weapon states.  However, despite this treaty, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea become nuclear states. So, we can say, the treaty is ineffective in a large sense.

Nuclear Suppliers Group ( NSG): The Nuclear supplies group ( NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to control the export of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to prevent their diversion for military purposes. It establishes guidelines for nuclear export and encourages the adoption of comprehensive safeguards by recipient countries. At present, there are 48 countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. India is not a member of this group, however, we tried to be a member of this group.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); is an international organization responsible for promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It conducts inspections and monitors the nuclear activities of states to ensure they are not diverting nuclear materials or technology for weapon purposes. However, the effectiveness of this organization depends on the cooperation and transparency of states.

Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives- Several initiatives promote nuclear disarmament, some of are-

  • Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ( START) between the United States and Russia, which aim to reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapon.
  • Iran Nuclear Deals -Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
  • North Korea Denuclearization negotiations.
  • This aims to curb the nuclear ambitions of specific countries.

Dual-use Technology control- Dual-use technologies, which have both civilian and military applications, can contribute to nuclear proliferation. Export controls and technical safeguards are in place to regulate the transfer of dual-use technologies and prevent their misuse for weapons development.


Despite the existing control mechanisms, challenges and risk associated with nuclear proliferation persists. The emergence of non-state actors seeking nuclear capabilities, potential arms races, and technological advancements that could enable new methods of proliferation. Addressing these challenges requires international cooperation, commitment to disarmament, strengthening of verification mechanisms, and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy while ensuring stringent non-proliferation measures.

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