Addressing the Existential Threat of Nuclear Weapons
The G20 New Delhi Summit declaration made headlines, stating that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” More will be needed from this group going forward to address this threat, especially at the time of growing geopolitical tensions and ongoing war in Ukraine.
The G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration carefully addressed the context of the Ukraine War, with only four references to Ukraine and none to Russia in the 37-page declaration. The condemnation of the “use or threat of nuclear weapons” closely resembles the language of previous summit meetings (G20 in Bali 2022, G7 in Hiroshima 2023) but does not reference any single country. As advocates for a world free of nuclear weapons, we call on the G21 to offer concrete, time-bound action toward change. One such step would be for the G21 members to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and to call on all states that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the treaty.
The TPNW was adopted by the 122 state members of the United Nations in 2017 and entered into force in 2021. The treaty prohibits states from engaging in the use, possession, testing, transfer, and other actions having to do with nuclear weapons. None of the world’s nuclear-armed powers—including China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom or the United States—have signed the TPNW. Given that the G21 is one of the opportunities for some of the nuclear weapon possessors to be in direct conversation with states like Mexico and South Africa, which are leading the way for the TPNW and nuclear disarmament more generally, more progress in the coming meetings will be necessary.