Treaty On The Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons Enters Into Force

  • 28 Jan 2021

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force on 22nd January 2021.

  • So far, a total of 86 countries have signed the treaty and ratified by more than 60 countries, which complements existing disarmament measures like the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Now, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a part of international law.

About TPNW

  • The TPNW is a significant milestone in the long and global effort to achieve a world free from nuclear weapons.

Basic Obligations

  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
  • Signatories are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, control over such weapons, or any assistance with activities prohibited under the Treaty.
  • States are also prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
  • States Parties cannot allow the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices in their territory.
  • States Parties are obligated to provide victim assistance and help with environmental remediation efforts.


  • Adopted in New York: 7 July 2017
  • Opened for signature in New York: 20 September 2017
  • Entry into Force: 22 January 2021

Major Non-Parties to TPNW

  • India: India is neither a party nor supports the treaty. India did not participate in the negotiations on the TPNW and has consistently made it clear that it will not become a party to the treaty. India does not want be bound by any of the obligations that may arise from it. India believes that this treaty does not constitute or contribute to the development of customary international law; nor does it set any new standards or norms.
  • Other Nuclear-Weapon States: None of the nuclear weapons states (United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel) are party to the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
  • NATO: Nato has refused to support the treaty.
  • Japan: The only state to actually suffer a nuclear weapons attack, also dissociated from the treaty, though it remains committed to full disarmament.

NPT – The Treaty that still Hangs in Balance

  • The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was negotiated with the purpose of strengthening the largely unimplemented disarmament pillar of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

Why NPT is still not Implemented

  • Flawed nature of the NPT that divides the world into nuclear haves and have-nots.
  • Security dilemma which leads to nuclear arms race (as in the case of India and Pakistan developing nuclear weapons).
  • The perception (often true) that possession of nuclear weapons gives more prestige and respect in the international regime and a sense of security.
  • Unwillingness of nuclear weapon states to move towards complete time-bound nuclear disarmament.

Why India not a signatory to NPT?

  • NPT allows only those five nations manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon before January 1, 1967 to retain their weapons after signing the treaty.
  • India opposes this discriminative disarmament policy and argues for the complete ban of nuclear weapons and hence, still not a signatory of the NPT.