The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions, remains in a state of limbo having been adopted by the United Nations in 1996 but failing to achieve entry into force due to the requirement for the ratification of the treaty by all Annex-II nations.
Currently, the Treaty has 182 signatories, 153 ratifications, and 35 out of the necessary 44 Annex-II states ratifications (CTBTO 2010).
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China, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United States must ratify the treaty for it to fully and officially enter into force, although an array of the verification and monitoring systems are already
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This essay will outline the merits of the CTBT, and analyse the prospects for its entry into force in the near future. Furthermore, it will consider the value of the Treaty in relation to the broader non-proliferation regime and the symbolic significance it would bring to the ultimate objective of nuclear disarmament
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The opportunity for the entry into force of the CTBT appears to be present (Collina 2010), with the Obama Administration in the United States in favour of its ratification and the international political climate appearing to be conducive towards multilateral arms control.
In accordance with Article XIV of the treaty, it will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These “Annex 2 states” are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between
1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors
or research reactors at that time. As of 7 December 2011, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India, North Korea and Pakistan have not
signed it. In 1998 India said it would only sign the treaty if the United States presented a
schedule for eliminating its nuclear stockpile
, a condition the United States rejected. As of early 2011, Indonesia has been signaling that it will soon ratify the treaty and following the US Senate’s ratification of New START, the Obama Administration has indicated that CTBT ratification will be next in line.
However, there are a range of factors and domestic state concerns potentially curtailing the prospect of codifying the international norm against nuclear testing into a formalised CTBT.
The virtues of the CTBT are numerous and these are thoroughly discussed in the literature.
As a result, Australia, on 22 August 1996, requested that the General Assembly resume the consideration of agenda item 65, entitled “Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty” as provided for in Resolution 50/65 of 12 December 1995. For that purpose, it also submitted the draft Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), identical to that negotiated in the CD, for adoption by the General Assembly
The treaty is intended to act as a pragmatic effort to halt vertical proliferation both qualitatively and quantitatively by preventing the modernisation of nuclear arsenals, especially by foreclosing the possibility of new low-yield and ‘third-generation’ weapons that could be used in accordance with a regional nuclear
war-fighting doctrine (Arnett 1996: 138-9).
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) began its substantive negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty in January 1994 within the framework of an Ad Hoc Committee established for that purpose. Although the CD had long been involved with the issue of a test ban, only in 1982 did it establish a subsidiary body on the item. Disagreement over a mandate for that body blocked tangible progress for years.
This is regarded as its integral contemporary function, and the prevention of nuclear modernisation is seen as crucial to global security. Indeed, with the acceptance of the CTBT, ‘the vertical component of the arms race will have effectively disappeared’ (Arnett 1996: 22).
The CTBT remains a key piece of unfinished business of the nuclear age. As a growing number of governments and decision makers put forward ideas to move the world towards abolishing nuclear weapons, much can be learned from how the CTBT was fought for, opposed and finally negotiated between
1994 and 1996. The treaty’s necessity was underlined when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted a nuclear test explosion
in 2006, but more than a decade of political and institutional obstacles have prevented the CTBT from entering into full legal effect.
Additionally, the treaty would also play a key role in preventing further horizontal proliferation by formalising a strong international norm against proliferation and nuclear testing. There is huge political and symbolic significance attached to the CTBT, marking ‘the end of an era’ for many (Hoekema 1995: 241).
Each state party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging or, in any way, participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.
The verification and monitoring protocols are intense and are regarded by many experts to be an effective non-proliferation tool. The treaty contains ‘complex provisions in an effort to monitor compliance with the obligation of conducting no nuclear explosions’ (Medalin 2008: 22), with an International Monitoring System network encompassing seismic monitoring, atmospheric monitoring, satellite surveillance, intelligence and on-site inspections.
After each of the North Korean nuclear tests, all CTBT State Signatories received the same high-quality information about the location, magnitude, depth and time of the event within hours of detection by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation’s
(CTBTO) system of monitoring stations.
The verifiability of the treaty is attractive to states as a ‘confidence-building measure’ (Findlay 1992: 13), and has proven to be effective by detecting the 2006 and 2009 North Korean tests, despite their yield being estimated at under a kiloton.
The CTBT with its 183 signatories and 163 ratifications is one of the most widely supported arms-control treaties. This near universal support is due to the treaty’s non-discriminatory nature, where everyone has the same obligation never to conduct a nuclear explosion
. As another mark of progress, the prohibition against testing has emerged as an established global political and behavioural norm. The international condemnation of North Korea as the only country that has conducted nuclear tests in this
millennium is a vivid illustration.
Furthermore, the CTBT would provide a framework for dealing with any suspected nuclear tests and for responding effectively in the event of any nuclear explosion.
In addition to this, the ratification of the CTBT would fulfil the commitment made by nuclear states to end testing, which was a major factor in the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference extension of the NPT into perpetuity (Drell 2007: 111).
India did not support the treaty in 1996 — and still does not — but it had been very supportive during negotiations. The roots of that exuberance can be traced to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous initiative in 1954 for a “standstill agreement” on nuclear testing
. His intervention came at a time when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were detonating powerful nuclear weapons with increasing frequency. Nehru played an important role in
building international momentum for the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which India joined. This treaty significantly reduced global levels of fallout, but did little to constrain the nuclear arms race. The CTBT was created as a result.
Similarly, it could be that the progress made signals to non-nuclear states that the nuclear states are taking their Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations of eventual disarmament under Article VI sincerely.
The treaty stipulates that each state party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
The CTBT is ‘inextricably linked’ to the NPT, and the entry into force of the CTBT was one of the ’13 Steps’ towards the implementation of Article VI outlined in the 2000 NPT Review Conference (Aust 2008: 38).
Before India even signs the CTBT, it can reacquaint itself with today’s global nuclear test ban, while making an important contribution to the multilateral verification system. Radionuclide stations, which “sniff out” radioactive particles and noble gases, are the only means to confirm a nuclear explosion
. In particular, the radionuclide station still sought for India to host is vital to finishing the now 90 per cent complete IMS
, which is already highly effective in detecting nuclear explosions.
The broader contribution of the CTBT to the non-proliferation regime is evident and it would ‘partially redress the discriminatory nature of the NPT, which divides the world into nuclear ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’’ (Findlay 1992: 11).
Australia moved the President of the 50th session of the UN General Assembly on August 23, 1996 to convene a resumed meeting of the Assembly from September 9, 1996 for the sole purpose of adoption of the text negotiated at Geneva. The UN General Assembly
approved on September 10, 1996 the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 158 to 3. India, Bhutan and Libya voted against; Cuba, Lebanon, Mauritius, Tanzania and Syria abstained; and 19 others were either absent or did not vote.
The CTBT would undoubtedly bolster the ailing non-proliferation regime, giving it a much-needed boost in the face of the newfound nuclear status of India, Pakistan, and North Korea.
Another merit of the CTBT is the environmental significance it marks, by officially ending the radioactive contamination of the environment that has ensued since testing began in 1945.
CTBT is not just and fair. It is discriminatory. It creates a distinction between nuclear power countries and non-nuclear countries. It envisages 5 nuclear power nations to keep their nuclear stockpiles intact: at the same time it prohibits other countries to test nuclear weapons
. Such a treaty will help in perpetuating the hegemony of the nuclear powers. It will never lead to a real and total nuclear disarmament - a pre-condition to lasting world peace and security.
Although the Partial Test Ban Treaty banned testing in the atmosphere, even underground testing has resulted in the release of vast amounts of dangerous radioactive material into the atmosphere due to leaked or vented radioactive gases (CTBTO 2010).
The 61 -nations Conference on Disarmament, after having failed to reach a consensus in their Geneva meet on August 20, 1996 approved a status report. Although the Conference intended to send the actual treaty to New York for signing, but India’s objection to it made it impossible. Conference rules required a consensus by its members. The treaty as proposed permitted the nuclear powers to
continue developing nuclear
weapons. India objected to it and refused to accept the draft treaty. India insisted that the 5 declared nuclear powers must commit themselves to negotiate the elimination of their nuclear arsenal according to a time-bound programme
Despite the U.S Senate’s rejection of the CTBT in 1999, there are strong arguments that the treaty would strengthen U.S. national security. Collina points out that there is ‘no military justification to revive U.S. nuclear testing’ and emphasises that ‘the U.S. does not need nuclear tests to maintain an effective nuclear arsenal’ (2010: v). Therefore the CTBT would enhance American interests by preventing others from testing and improving verification effectiveness.
Taking these initial steps within the scientific context is wholly consistent with India’s standing in the 21st century as it looks to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime. Scientific cooperation is crucial for sustainable dialogue. Interactions between scientists
serve to promote cross-border exchanges and can become a precursor for greater engagement. One avenue for engagement takes place this June in Vienna at the CTBT: the Science and Technology Conference 2015, which is the world’s largest scientific forum on
nuclear-test-ban verification and its other benefits. Encouragingly, Indian scientists attended the last conference and I look forward to welcoming more this year.
General John Shalikashvili outlined the benefits to U.S security, including; slowing the efforts of aspiring nuclear states; hampering the development of new Russian and Chinese weapons; enhanced monitoring and verification; and the ability to respond effectively in
the event of a test.
The nuclear weapon states (Nuclear Club) have no moral right to ask India not to block the CTBT, when they have themselves astounding record of unclear tests - USA (1030), Soviet Union (715), France (210), Britain (45) and China (45). The hypocrisy of the Nuclear Club apart
, India’s stand is governed by the overall security imperatives in the Indian subcontinent. India faces two non-friendly neighbors - one a nuclear weapon state and the other a nuclear capable state. Under such circumstance, India need not take a step that will go against its national security
(2001: 29-33). Furthermore, the Stockpile Stewardship Program has successfully maintained safe and reliable nuclear warheads since 1992, further adding to the argument that testing is militarily unnecessary (Hafemeister 2009: 474).
CTBTO has evolved from a mere blueprint to the custodian of the world’s largest and most sophisticated multilateral verification system. Over 300 stations in 89 countries have been built to monitor for signs of nuclear explosions
around the globe and round the clock. The International
Monitoring System (IMS) monitors the Earth’s crust, listens in the atmosphere and in the oceans and sniffs the air for traces of radioactivity. While scanning the globe for signs of a nuclear test, this monitoring system produces data
that have many spin-off applications, from disaster early warning to scientific research on the Earth’s inner structures, climate change or meteors, to name just a few of the potential uses.
In addition to this, sovereignty is not infringed upon, as states have the right to withdraw from the CTBT under the ‘supreme national interest’ clause, and can therefore resume testing (Collina 2010: 13).
India believes that no country can really be safe and free so long a few arrogate to themselves the right to be the policemen of the world. Each nation has to defend itself and India too refuses to compromise on its sovereignty by surrendering its right to defend itself to others.
The rationale for a CTBT has changed considerably since Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru first proposed a test ban in 1954. Technological developments and the ability of computer-simulated nuclear testing have resulted in the ability to develop a nuclear weapon without even a single nuclear explosion, as demonstrated by the Israeli nuclear weapons programme (Findlay 1992: 7). Indeed, this has been termed as the ‘paradox’ of the issue, ‘the CTBT looks both less relevant and at the same time more feasible’ (Hoekema 1995: 239).
India did not join the treaty protesting against its discriminatory nature. Pakistan insisted that it would do so only if New Delhi signed the document. Israel said it could consider signing the NPT only two years after it signed peace treaties with all its West Asian neighbours.
However, the value of a universal ban on nuclear testing in all atmospheres would slow the growth and modernisation of existing nuclear arsenals, and contribute both pragmatically and symbolically to nuclear
non-proliferation with the ultimate goal of disarmament.
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In summary, the merits of the CTBT are clear with regard to limiting both vertical and horizontal proliferation, and as a symbol of progress towards the Article VI goal of universal nuclear disarmament.
Since then India has kept its nuclear options open refusing to submit to any regional or global regime that limits India’s nuclear weapon options. India believes that any nuclear regime is unacceptable which does not envisage total disarmament by the nuclear powers. India does not favour any pact, treaty or instrument that aims at only nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and not at universal disarmament
The environmental virtues are commendable, and a global consensus exists extolling the value of the CTBT ‘greater…than on any other arms control treaty’ (Hafemeister 2009: 481). Whilst the effects of a CTBT are less substantial than in the past due to technological
developments and the ability of simulated testing, the CTBT still makes a major contribution both towards pragmatic and effective nuclear non-proliferation, and towards ‘positive political atmospherics’ (Hoekema 1992: 239-241).
It has been hard in recent years to discern a public debate on the CTBT in India. This is tragic in the very country that made the path-breaking call for the “standstill agreement”; has been observing a unilateral moratorium since 1998; is a champion of nuclear disarmament; and, in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the global non-proliferation efforts.” For all of its efforts in galvanising the creation of an
effective international verification system, India is currently unable to derive either the political or the technical benefits from it. But 183 other countries do.
The prospects for the entry into force of the CTBT are however mixed, with an array of challenges to be met before ratification from all Annex-II states can be achieved. Recent positive developments have occurred, with President Obama stating in his April 2009 speech in Prague that ‘my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty’ (Obama 2009). Furthermore, by envisioning a world free of nuclear weapons, the Obama Administration has shown a progressive view towards multilateral nuclear arms control, which marks a significant departure from the unilateral and neo-conservative values of the Bush Administration.
To placate non-weapons states that sought to pressure nuclear powers into moving more quickly on arms control, a list of disarmament goals was attached to the extension decision. Those objectives, which include completion of a
comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT) by 1996, were paired up with a plan for annual meetings to review progress toward the goals.
In addition to this, the current international political climate appears favourable towards the CTBT, with the international community’s ‘overwhelming’ support for the treaty linked to many views on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament (Medalia 2008: 53).
India has always been in favour of total and universal disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapons. Since 1954 India has been making fervent appeals to the community of nations to achieve total disarmament within a time frame and has never been a party to partial, discriminatory and hegemonic disarmament pacts and treaties, in 1953 the US, UK, and the USSR signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty banning nuclear tests in outer space, in the deep sea and sea-beds, However, China and France did not sign it.
It is likely that the ratification of the United States holds the key to the acceptance of the CTBT, with this described as the ‘single most important determinant of whether a CTB is negotiated and implemented’ (Findlay 1992: 32).
After more than two years of intensive negotiations, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Ambassador Jaap Ramaker of the Netherlands, presented a final draft treaty to the CD in June 1996. An overwhelming majority of member states of the CD
expressed their readiness to support
the draft treaty. India, for its part, stated that it could not go along with a consensus on the draft text and its transmittal to the United Nations General Assembly. The main reasons for such a decision, as India pointed out, were related to its strong misgivings about the provision for the entry-into-force of the treaty, which it considered unprecedented in multilateral practice and running contrary to customary
international law, and the failure of the treaty to include a commitment by the nuclear-weapon states to eliminate nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework.
However, there are major domestic political barriers preventing U.S. ratification of the treaty, as demonstrated in the 1999 Senate vote. Here a combination of neo-conservative Republican Party ideology and a personal dislike of President Clinton resulted in the treaty
failing to achieve the
two-thirds Senate majority needed for its ratification.
The CTBT was them presented before the UN in September 1996 at its 51st session. Australia took the initiative and Denmark prepared the draft and it was approved by the majority of 158 member nations in spite of India’s opposition. Besides India, Bhutan and Libya also opposed it, and Cuba, Lebanon, Mauritius, Tanzania and Syria abstained from voting. The American President Bill Clinton was the first to sign it followed by others.
It is feared that history could repeat itself, with the Washington ‘political atmosphere not conducive to bipartisan cooperation’ and it is difficult to see where even the seven necessary Republican votes will come from (Butcher 2010: 7). With any vote looking unlikely prior to November 2010 mid-term elections, even more Republican Senators could be required to back the treaty, an unlikely event given that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has outlined his clear opposition to the ratification of the CTBT (Medalia 2010: 4) whilst the character of the Republican Party is if anything more right-wing and dominated by neo-conservative ideology than in 1999.
The CTBT is intended to prohibit all nuclear weapon test explosions. It has achieved near universal adherence. However, Article XIV of the treaty requires ratification by 44 named states before the treaty can enter into force.
Recent evidence should prove supportive to U.S backers of the CTBT, with the Stockpile Stewardship Program certifying annually since 1992 that U.S. warheads are both safe and reliable (Collina 2010: 8) without the need for nuclear testing. Indeed, allegations that the CTBT would amount to ‘gambling with the survival of the United States’ (Spring 2009) seem unfounded, with reliability, safety, verification, and enforcement all seeming effective under the CTBT.
If India carried such a test it would be immediately detected by a vast network of 170 seismological monitoring stations, 80 radionuclide detection centres, 60 infrasound and hydro acoustic stations spread throughout the globe
. Moreover, India would have to carry a series of such tests to make the weapon effective and deployable.
However, it seems that Senate ratification may depend more on domestic political circumstances in Washington D.C than on technical and scientific evidence and expertise. Despite this, it is not impossible to envisage the U.S. ratification of the treaty if the vote is well prepared enough and support is successfully galvanised. On the other hand, the CTBT will most likely be dead if it fails again in the Senate so there is a crucial need to ‘build an unassailable technical and political case in support of ratification’ (Butcher 2010: 8) prior to any Senate vote.
CTBT also goes against India’s independent nuclear policy and security requirements as it forbids acquiring, manufacturing, testing, deploying and transferring of nuclear arsenals. But there are some who favour signing of CTBT by India as they feel it is not worth spending so much political capital for an option which India may never exercise.
U.S. ratification would massively increase the prospects for the full entry into force of the CTBT. The leadership this would demonstrate is likely to prompt other key nations to ratify, and put considerable pressure on others.
Science should support diplomacy. Today, a first step toward reengagement would be for relevant scientific and other government institutions to initiate contact with the CTBTO for the purpose of beginning scientific cooperation
. This could eventually lead to India participating in the international exchange
of data from the monitoring stations and would be an important first step
to establishing familiarity and trust.
With the ‘essential step’ (Collina 2010: 20) of U.S. ratification complete, China is expected to immediately ratify the treaty, whilst Indonesia has already commenced the ratification process. Furthermore, pressure could be exerted on the Middle Eastern states of Egypt
, Iran and Israel, although their ratifications are ‘entwined with the complexities and nuances of their regional security situations’ (Lewis 2010: 1). For Israel, who has never officially tested their nuclear weapon, the CTBT would represent an opportunity to play a role in multilateral arms control, and thereby ‘lessen the opprobrium of remaining outside the NPT’ (Arnett 1996: 67).
India declared that it would never sign the treaty in its present form. The treaty makes it mandatory on all the 44 countries with nuclear capability including India, Pakistan and Israel to sign and ratify it to make it operational. Although a large number of the members of the UN (with 185 countries as members) have signed the treaty, it will take years for them to ratify it.
It is likely that Egyptian and Iranian ratification would be far more forthcoming if Israel has already ratified.
Ratification by India and Pakistan is also intertwined, with Pakistan having stated that they will ratify the CTBT when India does so. Positively, Indian officials have stated that they do not want to be a ‘pariah state’ and the fear of Indian isolation and economic costs may spur them to ratify if they can present the treaty as a diplomatic triumph (Arnett 1996: 49).
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Furthermore, the universality and indiscriminate nature of the CTBT could appeal to India and Pakistan, the two states who have most frequently derided the NPT as an unfair and discriminatory perpetuation of the status quo.
While formally rejecting the draft CTBT in any form. India said it did not serve the purpose of promoting the realization of universal disarmament goals. India’s principled rejection of the draft CTBT does not mean that New Delhi was going in for nuclear weapons. India’s External Affairs Minister Mr
. I.K. Gujaral said, “The decision not to sign the CTBT does not mean that we are going in for new weapons, particularly nuclear weapons.” India was, as a matter of fact, left with no options but to block the CTBT as her demand that the treaty be linked to a time-table for eliminating all atomic weapons had not been accommodated in the text. It was a sad fact that the nuclear weapon states showed no
interest in giving up their nuclear hegemony.
The entry into force of the CTBT was viewed as a condition for the 1995 indefinite extension of the NPT, and its ratification would mark progress in the effort to reduce discrimination between nuclear and non-nuclear states of the NPT (Drell 2007: 190).
After the indefinite extension of NPT, the US stepped up its efforts to cap the nuclear weapons capabilities of the threshold states India, Pakistan and Israel by proposing a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). These efforts culminated in success in September 96.
The ratification of North Korea may prove significantly more difficult for the CTBT, with the wider security dynamics of the geopolitically isolated state making any multilateral arms control agreement problematic (Lewis 2010: 2). Furthermore, there is the risk that North Korea will simply go about this agreement in the same ‘covert’ manner it regarded the NPT.
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As the only nation to have officially exploded a nuclear device in the last ten years, ratification by North Korea is surely integral for the CTBT. However, the state is in such an isolated geopolitical situation that it appears immune to international norms
against testing, and it is unlikely that North Korea would ratify the CTBT under current circumstances
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. The Treaty was opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996 when it was signed by 71 states, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. As of February 2012, 157 states have ratified the CTBT and another 25 states have signed but not ratified it. The treaty has, however, not entered into force as of May 2012.
A possible alternative approach to the CTBT would be one of ‘Provisional Application’, if one or two states continue to hold out. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation Preparatory Commission already functions to a large extent, with ‘a technical secretariat, a functioning data centre, and an established monitoring system’ (Lewis 2010: 2). Whilst full entry into force would undoubtedly be preferable, this alternative could allow the CTBTO to function more fully and ‘help bolster the steadily growing norm against the detonation of nuclear devices’ (Lewis 2010: 2). Indeed, it could be that this de facto norm is already well established, with North Korea conducting the only tests in the past decade, and the U.S having not tested since 1992.
To conclude, it is evident that the CTBT has significant merits both on a practical and symbolic level.
Thus, the CTBT unjustly maintains the status quo which is not acceptable to India. But there are many who favour the signing of the Treaty on the ground that there are many serious logistical and financial problems to be overcome before India can test a nuclear weapon superior to its first bomb tested in 1974 at Pokhran.
Its undoubted contribution to ending vertical proliferation and preventing the spread of ‘third-generation’ nuclear weapons, which could be used in regional nuclear war-fighting doctrines (Arnett 1992: 138), would represent a major landmark for multilateral arms control.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) seeks to achieve a total ban on nuclear tests. The 5 nuclear powers are—USA, UK, Russia, France and China. In addition to them India, Pakistan and Israel are threshold countries, capable of developing nuclear
weapons, CTBT is not a disarmament treaty: it is a restrictive measure to prevent both vertical and horizontal proliferation—of course, an urgent desirable objective. The treaty will lead to cessation of nuclear arm race less by inhibiting the spread of nuclear weapons than by preventing the advancement of nuclear weapon states’ capabilities.
In addition to this, the symbolic power of the CTBT as a building block towards honouring the ‘grand bargain’ of the NPT (Medalia 2008: 52) is significant, and could result in a positive international political climate conducive to further arms control.
India has always favored total and universal disarmament and hot partial and discriminatory disarmament pacts and treaties. India did not sign NPT only because it was hegemonic and unjust. IN 1974 India conducted its first nuclear test and since then Indies has kept its nuclear options open. Surrounded by hostile and powerful neighbors, India cannot compromise its security. India objected to the CTBT on the same grounds in spite of its endorsement by 158 nations in the UN
. The treaty did not have any provision for time bound elimination of nuclear weapons possessed by the 5 super powers. It factors nuclear powers and discriminates against others. CTBT allows nuclear powers to have computer-simulation tests in the labs. So much political capital of ran option which India may never exercise.
The prospects for the full entry into force of the CTBT appear mixed, with U.S. ratification a necessity for any further progression of the treaty. If the Obama Administration can fulfil its pledge to gain ratification of the CTBT through the political minefield of the U.S. Senate, it appears as though this would prompt many other Annex-II states to ratify the treaty, including China, the only other NPT ‘nuclear-state’ holding out.
India’s past with the treaty to ban all nuclear tests in all places for all time is well known. Some might characterise it as leadership defaulted or, more optimistically, merely delayed. A lot has changed for India since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature in 1996, and the same is true for the treaty itself — enough to prompt fresh thinking about some renewed engagement.
Furthermore, leverage could be exerted upon the other holdout states, with the conceivable scenario of all but North Korea eventually ratifying the treaty. However, as with North Korea, these ratifications are dependent upon regional security circumstances more that international pressure
, and these concerns will surely play a major role in the future of the CTBT.
In spite of all these achievements, the CTBT has yet to become global law due to its demanding entry into force clause, which requires the signature and ratification of all 44 countries listed as nuclear technology capable
. At present, eight of those countries are yet to join: India, Pakistan and North Korea are the only non-signatories from this list.
Despite unclear prospects for the CTBT, the international de facto norm against nuclear testing seems well established, and the already semi-functioning CTBTO plays an important role in monitoring and verification.
The IMS has also facilitated a rich international exchange of data and expertise and boosted technological advancements pertaining to infrasound and noble gas monitoring. Additionally, the CTBTO has an active programme of
engagement with the international scientific community who can tap into a wealth of data generated by the IMS
, and civil and scientific applications are booming. India should be part of this.
It is also important not to view the CTBT as an end in itself, as independently it will not be so effective as to make nuclear weapons obsolete (Arnett 1996: 139). Rather, the CTBT could be seen as an element of the means to an end of nuclear non-proliferation and the aspiration of eventual nuclear disarmament.
The non-nuclear states suggested that the nuclear powers should announce scaling down their stockpiles. The USA insisted that first efforts should be made to prevent N. Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
However, the full entry into force of the CTBT would still represent a major practical and symbolic achievement for the international non-proliferation regime, and would mark the end of an era for many.
In 1958 the Nuclear, non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed In the UN and was endorsed by over 100 nations, however India did not sign it on the grounds that it was hegemonic and discriminatory. Besides India, Israel and Pakistan remained
outside the NPT regime. Pakistan did not sign it because India did not.
The symbolic and political significance of the CTBT cannot be overstated, and its worldwide ratification would be an integral building block towards the long-term goal of universal nuclear disarmament through further
Pressure was building on different nuclear powers of the world to totally renounce the explosion and testing of nuclear weapons. The French were specially being targeted for their explosions in South Pacific Ocean.
Butcher, M. ‘Prospects for U.S. Ratification of the CTBT and Implications for the 2010 NPT Review Conference’, Pugwash Conference, The Hague, April 2009, revised January 2010.
- Arnett, E. ‘Nuclear Weapons After the Comprehensive Test Ban’, 1996, Oxford University Press, New York.
- Aust et al. ‘A New Look at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’, International Group on Global Security, September 2008. Netherlands Institute of International Relations, The Hague.
A global conference held in UN Headquarters decided on 11-5-1995 to extend the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) indefinitely. The conference approved a US-backed plan to make the 25-year-old pact permanent, perpetuating an international system in which only five nations can legitimately possess nuclear weapons.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/35440086/Prospects-for-US-Ratification-CTBT-Prepared-for-Obama Collina, T. and Kimball, D. ‘Now More Than Ever: The Case for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’, Arms Control Association, 2010, www.armscontrol.org/system/files/ACA_CTB_Briefing_Book.pdf
- Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Full Text, http://www.ctbto.org/fileadmin/content/treaty/treatytext.tt.html
- CTBTO, Current Treaty Status Data from http://www.ctbto.org/
- CTBTO, Effects of Nuclear Testing, http://www.ctbto.org/nuclear-testing/the-effects-of-nuclear-testing/general-overview-of-theeffects-of-nuclear-testing/page-1-general-overview/?Fsize=qycdosekygxigj
- Drell, S. ‘Nuclear Weapons, Scientists, and the post-Cold War Challenge: Selected Papers on Arms Control’, 2007, World Scientific, Singapore.
- Hafemeister, D. ‘Assessing the Merits of the CTBT’, Nonproliferation Review, 16: 3, November 2009, pp. 473-482.
- Hoekema, J. ‘CTBT and NPT: An Essential Linkage?’ in van Leeuwen, M. ‘The Future of the International Nuclear Non-proliferation Regime’, 1995, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Netherlands.
- Findlay, T. ‘A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban: Post-Cold War Prospects’, Working Paper No. 122, Peace Research Centre, September 1992, ANU, Canberra.
- Lewis, J. ‘The CTBT: Prospects for Entry into Force’, Occasional Papers 4, VERTIC, June 2010. www.vertic.org/assets/Publications/CTBT%20OP4.pdf
- Medalia, J. ‘Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments’, Congressional Research Service Report, January 2010.
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- Obama, B. ‘Remarks’ in Prague, April 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered/
- Shalikashvili, J. ‘Letter to the President and Report on the Findings and Recommendations Concerning the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’, Washington DC, January 2001, pp. 29-33.
- Spring, B. ‘The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: In Arms Control’s Worst Tradition’, Backgrounder from The Heritage Foundation, 1999.
- Spring, B. ‘Ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: A Bad Idea in 1999, a Worse Idea Today’, WebMemo, The Heritage Foundation, 2007.
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Written by: Steven Hawkes
Written at: Monash University
Written for: Andy Butfoy
Date written: October 2010