INF missile treaty
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty was an arms control treaty signed between the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on 8 December 1987 and it came into effect after its ratification in 1988.
What was the treaty?
- The treaty had banned the intermediate range (500?1,000 kilometers) weapons of both two nations.
- While the weapons included were all the land-based ballistic missiles, land-based cruise missiles, and missile launchers, it did not apply to the air- or sea-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.
- The arms control treaty was highly effective and by May 1991, both nations reduced their weapons stockpiles by 2,692 missiles which significantly lowered tensions between two nuclear-armed states.
- The weapons reductions were verified were by 10 years of on-site verification inspections by members of other nations armed forces and by satellite imaging.
What had happened?
- Last year in October 2018, the U.S. President Donald Trump had announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the treaty after it accused Russia of non-compliance by developing newer weapons which violated the treaty.
- The U.S. had formally suspended the treaty and so did Russia. The full effect of the withdrawal has taken affect from 2 August 2019.
- This has sparked new concerns of a major arms race between the two arms behemoths and China- a new entrant on the geopolitical stage.
- While the European nations (which are the most likely battleground if any war breaks out) have expressed their reservations about the likely detrimental consequence of a new arms race, the military arm of Europe, the NATO has sided with the U.S.
While NATO claims that Russia?s new Novator 9M729 missile violates the INF agreement,?Moscow has insisted the missile has a maximum range of 480 kilometers and does not violate any INF parameters.