United States suspends its obligations under INF

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a Cold War-era missile treaty that was a signed in 1987 between the United States and the Soviet Union. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty barred both countries from deploying land-launched cruise missiles in the 500- to 5,500-km range. It was a key to ending the arms race between the (then) two super powers and helped protect the U.S.’s NATO allies in Europe from Soviet missile attacks. The deal addressed Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals, but put no restrictions on other major military actors such as China. Recently, it is in news because the United States has suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty with Russia effective on 2nd February 2019 and will withdraw from the treaty in six months. Article XV of the treaty mandates a six-month notice period before withdrawal. The reasons for withdrawal are as follows: the Trump and Obama administrations have repeatedly alleged that Russia was violating the treaty by fielding a ground-based cruise missile, the Novator 9M729 (“SSC-8” in NATO terminology) that could strike Europe at a short notice, an allegation that Russia has repeatedly denied. The Russians have raised counter-allegations against the U.S., with regard to launchers for antiballistic missile systems in Europe.

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