Data | 50 years of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty: will disarmament be achieved?

Though the treat achieved rapid results in reducing nuclear weapons initially, complete disarmament is not in the picture yet

Updated - December 03, 2021 06:54 am IST

Published - March 11, 2020 05:56 pm IST

Illustration of a nuclear missile for representative purpose.

Illustration of a nuclear missile for representative purpose.

The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty which became effective on March 5,1970 has achieved much in the last 50 years, though the pace of change has dwindled recently. The initial progress was rapid, reducing the nuclear weapons in the world by around 90% from Cold War levels, but the final goal of complete disarmament is not on the horizon.

Also read: UN disarmament chief: nuclear arms race is threatening world

At a lesser pace

The number of nuclear weapons declined rapidly from the Cold War peak of 70,300 nuclear warheads in 1986 to around 14,000 as of mid-2019. But the rate of reduction has been progressively slowing in the past 25 years. The graph plots estimated global nuclear warhead inventories.


Also read: ‘New Zealand wants defined norms for entry of non-NPT states into NSG’

Action ready

Of the 14,000-odd estimated warheads, only around 9,500 are in military service with the rest awaiting dismantlement. The graph shows warheads that has been retired, stockpiled and strategically deployed.


The nine nations

Notwithstanding the former U.S. President John F. Kennedy's prediction that by 1975, there will be 10 to 20 nuclear states, the NPT has helped confine the count to nine.

Also read: U.N. nuclear watchdog admonishes Iran for denying access to two sites

The map plots the number of estimated warheads possessed by these countries as of mid-2019.