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India stays firm, rejects NPT, CTBT

India stays firm, rejects NPT, CTBT

Author: Nirmala Ganapathy
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: September 26, 2009
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/India-stays-firm-rejects-NPT-CTBT/articleshow/5058444.cms

Introduction: Govt 'Committed To Unilateral Moratorium On Tests, Says US Is In No Position To Arm-Twist other

After the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), the US has renewed the call for countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but India, for now, remains unfazed.

The government has said no to both CTBT and NPT. And officials pointed out that the US, which is yet to ratify the CTBT, is in no position to push other countries to sign the treaty. In fact, New Delhi, for now, expects serious discourse and movement on the issue only after the US ratifies the treaty. And this is expected to take time as Mr Obama currently does not have sufficient numbers to push the treaty through the US Senate.

But this hasn't stopped the US from stating its intention of bringing the CTBT into force and in pushing other countries to sign the treaty. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaking at the CTBT Article XIV conference signalled the US intention of pushing India and others to come into the CTBT fold.

"As we work with the Senate to ratify the CTBT, we will encourage other countries to play their part, including the eight remaining Annex 2 countries. Those who haven't signed should sign,'' said Ms Clinton at the conference. India along with eight other countries, including Pakistan, fall into the Annexe 2 countries that are yet to sign the treaty.

This has only elicited a negative response from India. Prime Minister's special envoy on climate change Shyam Saran said India will not be a party to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state or sign the CTBT. "We are committed to nuclear disarmament and at the same time we are also committed to unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests," he was quoted as saying.

But analysts pointed out that there is always the possibility that India could come under pressure to sign the treaty even before the US Senate gives its nod. "In normal circumstances the pressure should build up on India only after the US Congress ratifies the treaty but there is always the danger that in the run up to getting Congress support, the Obama administration might ratchet up pressure on India to sign the CTBT to show the US Congress," said strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellaney.

The situation is expected to become clear only by the middle of next year. ``They are hoping to see ratification in the middle of next year... one will get a clear indication then,'' sources said But if US does ratify the CTBT, India is expected to come under immediate pressure to sign the treaty. Analysts pointed out that India will then find it very difficult to maintain its current position against the CTBT.

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