Irking the Dragon (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: INF treaty
Mains level: Walking out from INF treaty and its impact
- China has predictably criticised the U.S.’s decision to walk out
of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
- It was signed in 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev to eradicate conventional and nuclear missiles
ranging from 500 to 5,500 km from their arsenals.
Walking out from INF treaty effect
- All countries following the crumbling of the major arms control
treaty, China seems to be the most impacted.
- The Chinese expect that the Americans will now reinforce their
tactical missiles, both nuclear and conventional, in Guam, a large military
base in Micronesia, at the heart of the U.S. deterrent in the Pacific.
- It is also expected that the Americans will pack other U.S. bases
in the Pacific, especially those in Okinawa a string of islands in the East
China Sea that belong to Japan with intermediate range missiles. By doing
so, the U.S. would be able to virtually box in the movement of Chinese naval
ships in the West Pacific, especially by safeguarding strategic gateways to
the open sea, such as the Miyako Strait in Japan.
- China is aware that the post-INF missile deployments can
significantly undermine its own deterrent, especially its mid-range
- Currently, the Americans have no answer to China’s DF-21D
- These weapons have been tailored to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers
even at a distance of 1,450 km. China recently flaunted its DF-26 ballistic
missiles, which can deliver a strike on Guam.
- Chinese media reports reveal Beijing’s apprehension that the
Americans are at some point likely to propose a fresh arms control dialogue,
sharply focusing on China’s mid-range missiles.
- The new treaty targeting China’s intermediate range missiles is
expected to seek termination of the Chinese challenge to Washington’s
military dominance in the West Pacific.
- Beijing will not be second-bested by Washington in the tense
ongoing tussle for equivalence, and in writing the rules, in the waters of
- A write-up published in China Military Online, a website
affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, points out that in view of the
anticipated moves by the U.S., China must rapidly reinforce its nuclear
arsenal, through qualitative rather than quantitative improvements.
- Beijing would have no choice but to beef up its conventional
deterrence by developing hypersonic missiles, which can smash into targets
at five times the speed of sound, unharmed by any existing ground-based
- The next generation of strategic bombers as well as long-range
air-launched cruise missiles could also be on Beijing’s radar.
- To taking the miscalculated step of walking out of the INF treaty,
the U.S. may have dragged China, as well as Russia, into a new and
unpredictable arms race, with the potential of destabilising the
Q.1) Consider the following statements related to Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures Agreement:
1. It is one of the international agreements under the WTO.
2. This agreement seeks to ensure that the imported food is safe for consumers
and to prevent the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants
3. It prevents the countries from using food safety regulations as a form of
non-tariff barrier for the international trade.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Q.1) By walking out of the INF treaty, the U.S. may have dragged China
and Russia into a new arms race. Critically examine this statement.