UK parliamentary report warns of increased nuclear weapons use risk

25 April 2019 (Last Updated April 25th, 2019 11:43)

A UK parliamentary report has raised concerns about the risk of increased use of nuclear weapons due to the lack of arms control agreements.

A UK parliamentary report has raised concerns about the risk of increased use of nuclear weapons due to the lack of arms control agreements.

The warning comes in the report titled ‘Rising nuclear risk, disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’, published by the House of Lords International Relations Committee.

The committee observed that misunderstanding, miscalculation or mistakes could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. They highlighted ‘a lack of understanding’ between states armed with nuclear weapons on their respective doctrines and declaratory policies.

Rising tensions and misunderstanding between Russia and the West since 2014 has led to heightened levels of nuclear risk, according to the report.

The UK parliamentary report comes days before state leaders convene for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the UN in New York.

Lamenting the deteriorating state of nuclear diplomacy, the committee has urged the UK Government to address the concerns and take measures to reduce risks.

Earlier this year, the US and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, triggering fresh tensions between the superpowers.

The parliamentary committee raised fears that the collapse of the INF treaty could increase the possibility of states using nuclear weapons.

“We also call on the government to make clear to the US Administration the value of the New START for Euro-Atlantic security, and advocate its extension.”

Recommendations made by the committee include greater dialogue between all nuclear states.

In the report, the committee said: “We accept that Russia is in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but urge the government to use ongoing discussions in Nato to promote either a revival of the treaty or, at least, to avoid the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

“We also call on the government to make clear to the US Administration the value of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for Euro-Atlantic security, and advocate its extension.”

Other concerns pointed out in the report include the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the lack of global progress towards disarmament due to a worsening security situation.

As part of the truce deal, global forces lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme.

The US Government’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal has undermined global nuclear non-proliferation efforts, the committee opined.

The report also came down heavily on ‘reckless’ nuclear rhetoric in an era of digital communications, stating that it could cause misunderstanding and strain relations.

China, Russia, France, the UK, the US, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea are the nine countries in possession of nuclear weapons.