The UN General Assembly First Committee Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 (27 October 2016), which calls for negotiation on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination”, is amused as a “game-changer” in the global nuclear discourse. With 123 countries voted in favor, 38 against, and 16 abstained, the resolution mandated to convene a multilateral UN conference in 2017 to negotiate a Nuclear Ban Treaty to be adopted in 2018. The resolution titled “taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” was co-sponsored by 57 countries calling for the negotiations open to all members to arrive at a decision by majority.
First, many would like to see a parallel, if not alternative, regime when there is no momentum in the NPT, CTBT, FMCT, and disarmament through Conference on Disarmament (CD). Therefore, the idea of the Nuclear Ban Treaty, says Michael Krepon, “exemplifies the pull of centrifugal forces in the arms control enterprise.” But the complexity is that all nuclear weapon states are critical about it which will culminate in a new tussle among the nuclear ‘haves’, ‘have-nots’, and ‘crypto’ nuclear powers (Japan, South Korea, some NATO allies), and fracture the international community deeply.
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