The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime
The nuclear nonproliferation architecture rests on three pillars: the NPT, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and various export control regimes that regulate the export of nuclear material and delivery systems. Among these, the NPT remains the most important element of the nonproliferation regimes, but it has inherent limitations that the international community has not been able to address for over the last 50 years of its existence. Failure by the five NPT recognized nuclear weapon states to honor their disarmament obligations; the issue of compliance by the non-nuclear weapon states; NPT’s inability to integrate non-NPT nuclear weapon states into its fold; and the emergence of a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons—are some of the challenges that continue to threaten the credibility of the NPT. If left unaddressed, these challenges could eventually unravel the whole edifice of the NPT based global nonproliferation regime and possibly lead to a proliferation domino effect.