Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | September 21, 2015

Rekindling the disarmament momentum, by Happymon Jacob (The Hindu)

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“India’s resistance to the CTBT has lost relevance as it does not intend to conduct any more tests; signing the Treaty can be a bargaining chip in the new global nuclear order.

India today has a unique opportunity to rekindle the global nuclear disarmament momentum, and to kick-start this ambitious but useful project, New Delhi should offer to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). This proposal may sound untimely and strategically unwise, but there are at least three reasons why India should accede to the CTBT, besides being able to tap into a wealth of data generated by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring Stations:

First, to respond to global developments in nuclear disarmament and arms control as a responsible stakeholder in the non-proliferation regime; Second, to negotiate India’s entry into the global nuclear order; and Third, to revive India’s long-forgotten tradition of campaigning for global nuclear disarmament.

By signing the CTBT, India could signal its intent to help revive the global arms control and disarmament momentum, despite being a nuclear weapon state, thereby once again becoming part of the global disarmament movement which it once was.

Let us not forget India’s remarkable history of anti-nuclear activism, from proposing an end to nuclear testing in 1954 after the U.S. nuclear testing in Bikini Atoll to signing the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963 to Rajiv Gandhi’s impassioned plea to the U.N. General Assembly in 1988 for phased nuclear disarmament.

India played a key role in the negotiations to establish the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and actively participated in the negotiations on the NPT, but decided not to sign when it became clear that it would become an unequal treaty. Let us also remind ourselves of the fact that India had also for long advocated for a CTBT, although the eventual treaty was not accepted. However, resistance to CTBT does not need to continue anymore given that India does not intend to conduct any more tests (as declared in its unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests). Hence accession to the CTBT can be used as a bargaining chip to mainstream itself into the nuclear order.

Once India signs the CTBT, some of the other hold-out states are likely to follow, such as Pakistan. Others like the U.S. (whose Senate is blocking the ratification though the U.S. government has signed it) and China would also come under pressure to accede to it. Thus India will be able to reverse the current non-proliferation pressure which makes sense not only from a strategic point of view but also from a normative perspective. Signing the CTBT, then, is in India’s enlightened self-interest.”

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