The U.K. government’s integrated defense review published Tuesday states that the country will be increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons by 40%, which critics say will violate international law.
The previous commitment to cutting the nuclear arsenal down to 180 by the mid-2020s is set to be reversed, with plans to bring the total number of warheads to 260, despite the country’s status as a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory, The Independent reported. The increase in Trident nuclear warheads would end three decades of nuclear disarmament by the U.K. government.
The defense review paves the way for a £10 billion rearmament to counter the increasing perceived threat from Russia and China, according to The Guardian. (RELATED: Biden Administration Officially Extends Nuclear Weapons Treaty With Russia)
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab characterized the decision as the “ultimate insurance policy” against threats posed by the adversaries. “Over time as the circumstances change and the threats change, we need to maintain a minimum credible level of deterrent,” Raab explained on BBC Radio 4’s Today.
The Nuclear Information Project’s Director Hans Kristensen said that the government’s announcement is “deeply disappointing … This will put Britain in violation of its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Article 6 obligations,” according to The Independent. As recently as 2015, the U.K. government publicly declared nuclear arsenal reduction to be the country’s obligation under the treaty, he added.
— Kate Hudson (@kate4peace2021) March 12, 2021
The general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Kate Hudson criticized the government’s plan. “With the government strapped for cash, we don’t need grandiose, money-wasting spending on weapons of mass destruction,” she told The Independent.