Brussels: A NATO-affiliated body accidentally published the information that the NATO bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Turkey had nearly 150 nuclear weapons in store. After the US-Russia nuclear non-proliferation agreement signed during the Cold War was scrapped, fears were voiced over the increased probability of a nuclear war. Given the situation, the European media have claimed that the exposure of the information on NATO’s nuclear arsenal was explosive. The opposition leaders in Belgium have reprimanded the government on the matter, demanding them to reveal the truth behind it. There is a good possibility of such demands surfacing in other countries as well.
Nearly 150 nukes are stored at the NATO bases in Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Buchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands and Incirlik in Turkey. The information was exposed in the report titled – ‘A New Era for Nuclear Deterrence? Modernisation, Arms Control and Allied Nuclear Forces’ which was published by a NATO-affiliated body, in April. As the report exposed information on the location of the NATO nukes in Europe, it has become quite apparent that it may have lasting effects. The daily newspapers, De Morgan from Belgium and The Washington Post from the United States, have carried a detailed story on it.
It was a discovery for many that the NATO military bases in their country stored nuclear weaponry. Moreover, the repercussions of the revelation are already being felt. The Belgian opposition leaders have castigated the government over the issue and demanded the government to publish facts on the matter. Also, the media in other countries have become aggressive and expressed concerns about the increased threat of a nuclear war. During the Cold War, the United States and Russia had signed an agreement called the ‘Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces’ Treaty to limit the number of nukes. However, the United States recently scrapped the deal alleging that Russia was in violation of it.
After that, the claims over the growing possibility of a nuclear war were voiced. Under such circumstances, the accidental NATO-affiliate report has sparked a new crisis. However, NATO has offered an explanation to the incident stating that ‘it was not an official NATO document’ but the first draft of the report. Furthermore, it clarified that corrections were imperative to the report shortly. The controversial information has been omitted from the corrected final version of the report. Nevertheless, it has not changed the situation, and the dilemma over the nukes in the European countries would continue to be on a rampage in the times to come.