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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Topics covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

What to study?

For Prelims: CTBT- key facts.

For Mains: Significance of the treaty and why India is not willing to sign the treaty, what needs to be done?

Context: A recent report issued by the United States State Department on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (Compliance Report)” has raised concerns that China and Russia might be conducting nuclear tests in violation of its Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) undertakings.

However, Russia and China have rejected the U.S.’s claims.

What is CTBT?

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the Treaty banning all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone. The Treaty was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996.

The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it. These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.

India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.

What is a “zero yield”?

A comprehensive test ban has been defined as a “zero yield” test ban that would prohibit supercritical hydro-nuclear tests but not sub-critical hydrodynamic nuclear tests.

Why is the CTBT so important?

The CTBT is the last barrier on the way to develop nuclear weapons. It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs. The Treaty provides a legally binding norm against nuclear testing. The Treaty also helps prevent human suffering and environmental damages caused by nuclear testing.

Sources: the Hindu.