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Strong amendments in Nuclear Test Ban Treaty must

By ANANT MISHRA [Former Youth Representative to United Nations] Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is basically a multinational treaty in which all the nations agree to permanently ban use of nuclear explosion from environmental to military and civilian purposes. It was advocated in the United Nations General Assembly on 12 August 1996, and then adopted on 10th September 1996. It has not yet implemented due to non-ratification of eight specific nations. The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions and nuclear test explosions everywhere in the world. In order to ensure compliance of the laws CTBT sends inspectors and observers to monitor facilities and watch on suspicious events. Like all international organization CTBT too works on a preamble. This preamble comprises of 17 treaties, articles, two treaty annexes along with a protocol with detail guidelines on verification procedures. It works on the motto of nuclear free world and continues its efforts to reduce the nuclear weapons in the world. CTBT Silent points   The Article I of CTBT states that all member nations are prohibited from conducting “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion anywhere in the world.” It has set its guidelines as per the negotiating accord; this scope also covers the nuclear explosions with respect to the President Bill Clinton's "zero yields" proposal of August 1995. Implementation and Over watch The Article II of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization, states the implementation procedure. According to the Article II, CTBT will provide member nations with a forum for discussion, consultation and cooperation. The Organizations will comprise of Member Nations governed by an Executive Council and a Technical Secretariat. The organization will establish its headquarters in Vienna and it will remain independent, but it will continue to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There will be a conference every year, where Member Nations along with the Executive Council and Technical Secretariat will meet for discussions. The Conference organizers and Staff members will handle treaty related policy issues over watch the treaty’s implementation, including the activities of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat. The conference will meet once a year and the decision will be taken by a vote among the member nations. The Article III ensures that the Member Nations implement the rules and regulations properly with accordance to its constitutional process abide the decisions within their state.

“The CTBT is a fundamental building block for a free world of nuclear weapons“. - UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon

Voting and Amendment Every member nation is free to propose amendments in the treaty after it is implemented. This proposed amendment will be approved only when it is supported by some majority of member nations at amendment meetings with less or no negative votes. Introducing Peaceful Nuclear Explosions The Article VIII of the preamble states that once the organization has completed 10 years of working into force the member nations can call for a review summit to review the implementation of previous provisions including the preamble. At this review conference, member nations are free to introduce the “peaceful nuclear explosions” (PNEs) in the discussion. However, it is highly unlikely that peaceful nuclear explosions will ever me discussed in the conference. Timeline and Withdraw The CTBT is not burdened with timeline, and unlimited time will be provided. Meanwhile any member nation has the right of withdrawal from the treaty if it decides that “extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.” Ratification The Article XIV of the preamble states that the treaty will not enter into force until and unless it has been ratified by 44 states, including the five major nuclear weapons nations i.e. United States, Russia, Britain, France and China along with nations like India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan, which are mentioned on the list of Annex 2 to the treaty. (Once signed the treaty will come into force after 180 days of submission of ratification instruments to the Secretary General of United Nations.) Then the 44 member nations, will submit their detailed reports on reactors in the Conference on Disarmament, to the Secretary General of IAEA. Article XIV of the preamble states that if the treaty has not entered into force “three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature,” then a conference will be held for those member nations who have already submitted their instrument of ratification to the Secretary General of the UN. With its first conference in 1999, the Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry into Force has been held every year. Continuing Nuclear tests Shortly after the formation of CTBT 1996, three countries have tested their nuclear weapons since then. India and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998. North Korea carried out three tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Requirement of new and strong amendment There is absolute requirement of new and strong amendments in CTBT. It is imperative to convince the eight powerful, unbending CTBT nations such as China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States to formally accept and sign the treaty. Nations such as China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have although signed the treaty not ratified it. While nations such as India, North Korea and Pakistan have formally declined to sign it.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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