India and CTBT

India’s stand on signing the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT) raises many questions on India’s intent to make the world nuclear weapon free. However India’s argument places the treaty as discriminatory and finds it weak in its present format with the mighty nuclear nations not ratifying the treaty.

Historical legacy of India’s Efforts

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954 pitched for a “standstill agreement” on nuclear testing at a time when the two powerful blocs were detonating nuclear weapons frequently. India joined the 1963 Limited Test Ban treaty under the leadership of Nehru, though it place little constrain on nuclear arm race. As a result CTBT (comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty) was created.  India did not signed the treaty in 1998 though played crucial role in its negotiation.

Global Framework to Nuclear safety

CTBTO (comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty organisation) evolved as a multilateral verification system which includes a network of 300 stations in 89 countries to monitor the signs of nuclear explosion round the clock around the globe. It provides engagement with world scientific community to use the information gathered by the IMS and scientific applications.

The International Monitoring System (IMS) traces the radioactivity by monitoring the earth’s crust, atmosphere and oceans. This monitoring system also provides data that have many applications in the scientific community and also used in mitigating the dangers of disaster, climate change etc. The IMS provides a platform for data exchange and further boost the technological advancements to study the infrasound data, noble gas monitoring.

Looming danger in South Asia

The increasing tussle in the Asia, between the nuclear countries like Pakistan, India and China and the increasing sensitive relationship which frequently face-off each other at the borders, itself speaks of the danger ahead of nuclear exchange in the extreme cases. However the real danger comes from Pakistan losing control of the nuclear weapon as a result of unstable polity and governance in the hands of extremist forces. There is a growing threat of weapons falling in the hands of such jihadi forces not only making India and south Asia but the whole world vulnerable.

Also the ratifications of CTBT by the non-nulcear nations neither poses any threat to the nuclear nations nor provide any concrete framework of disarmament. CTBT has significance only if it provides a time bound programme of nuclear disarmament that should be credible and uniformly ratified by the nuclear as well as non-nulcear nations. At present the increasing global terrorism and nuclear weapons provides a need to consider renewed priority to nuclear disarmament adding changing dimensions to it.

North Korea, India and Pakistan are the only non-signatories in the list though countries like USA, China signed the treaty but did not ratified it. The nuclear arsenal holders are motivated by series of factor which is interconnected to the movement of the other. Pakistan by all its calculations is influenced by India’s action. Though, both the countries committed themselves on nuclear moratorium bilaterally. India’s calculation conditioned by china’s action and China is unlikely to act unless the US does. Iran link their decision on what happens to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

The biggest hurdle of the treaty not coming into force is the US decision to ratify the treaty. Its action would trigger a chain a positive decisions among the nuclear weapon holders.

India’s stand

India’s is neither a signatory to Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty (NPT) nor to the CTBT because of its discriminatory nature in its present format as is advantageous to the nuclear weapon holder.  India is the only state which believes to strengthen its security in world free of nuclear weapons.

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