A far-reaching arms control agreement that will cut sharply the stockpiles of nuclear weapons of United States and Russia and for the first time reduce intercontinental ballistic missiles, emerged from the summit level talks between both the countries. Under the agreement reached between the two Presidents, Mr. George Bush of the US and Mr. Yeltsin of Russia in Washington on June 16, 1992, the two countries have agreed to cut down their nuclear stockpiles to no more than 3,500 warheads each ignoring the contrary advice given by their military advisers.
Both countries will reduce their nuclear arsenals between 3,000 and 3,500 in two phases but not later than the year 2003. Today, both the US and Russia have 22,500 warheads—a staggering
number when seen in the context of Washington’s role in preventing other nations from acquiring sophisticated technology.
The agreement reached between the two countries is no doubt a big step forward. The agreement will, however, keep the world waiting for another 10 to 12 years before the stock pile of nuclear warheads with either of the US or Russia would drop to 3,500 which is about one-third of their present arsenal. This will still be a menacing number even a decade later.
All land-based missiles, the foundation of Russia’s arsenal, will be sent to the scrap yard. Moscow will thus surrender its first strike capability while leaving sea-based missiles, the backbone of the US strategic tripod, untouched. Noneth less, the accord means both sides will find it harder to initiate a nuclear exchange. This alone means the world can sleep that much easier.
The United States and Russia