Amid the rising tensions with Russia, the members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization are planning to conduct a nuclear exercise called “Steadfast Noon”.
- The Steadfast Noon exercise will be conducted each year and it would last for over a week.
- It was planned before the Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in February 2022.
- It would involve the participation of fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads. However, it will not involve any live bombs.
- 14 of the 30 NATO members will participate in this exercise.
- Conventional jets, surveillance and refuelling aircraft will routinely take part in this exercise.
- The main part of the drill will be conducted more than 1,000 km from Russia.
- NATO, as an organization, does not have any nuclear weapons.
- These weapons of mass destruction are nominally linked to the NATO alliance but remain under the firm control of the three member states – the United States, France and the United Kingdom.
About NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group
The NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group, which will meet before the Steadfast Noon is launched, is the senior body that is constantly reviewing specific issues concerning the nuclear forces. It is currently the only formal NATO body dealing with nuclear affairs. It was founded in December 1966 to initiate the consultative process on the nuclear doctrine and other related issues within the NATO. All NATO members are currently members of the Nuclear Planning Group expect France, which decided to not participate. It is chaired by the NATO Secretary General. It generally meets at the level of defence ministers. The Nuclear Planning Group reviews and sets the NATO’s nuclear policy amid the changing security environment. It is involved in discussions focussing on policy issues concerning the nuclear forces and other topics like nuclear arms control and nuclear proliferation.
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