The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) opened its week long discussions yesterday, issuing a call for a nuclear weapons ban, and the ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025.
The NAM, originating as a group of countries not aligned with either of the cold war superpowers, has historically been a loud voice for nuclear disarmament. Now is an opportune time for the NAM to not only reinforce these calls for disarmament, but to demonstrate their commitment to a nuclear weapons free world through actions.
One action could be for India and Pakistan to announce a halt to their nuclear modernization plans. According to “Assuring destruction forever: nuclear weapon modernization around the world”, India is focused on increasing the range and diversity of their nuclear weapons delivery vehicles. Pakistan is also rapidly developing a wider range of nuclear capable missiles. As a token of commitment to the NAM disarmament calls, India and Pakistan could seize the opportunity of this Summit to issue a joint missile testing moratorium.
U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, a long-time issue raised by the NAM were not forgotten. During his opening statement, Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran also raised the issue of modernization of nuclear weapons- including tactical nuclear weapons. He said “nothing should deflect our attention from the major threats to humanity from strategic and tactical nuclear forces and their continued modernization”.
This is not the first time the issue of tactical nuclear weapons was raised by the NAM. In 2010 at the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the NAM suggested that nuclear weapons states “withdraw nuclear weapons stationed on the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States in accordance with article I and II of the Treaty”. (NPT/CONF.2010/MC.I/CRP.2*). One could expect that this issue will not be neglected in the Summit outcome document.