Nuclear test ban body urges India to ratify CTBT


Vienna : Nations attending a conference promoting the entry into force of the nuclear test ban treaty have urged official and unofficial nuclear powers China, Pakistan, India and the US to ratify the treaty.

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In a concluding document of a two-day conference in Vienna, delegates Tuesday called on all countries who had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) “without delay”, especially those countries whose ratification was needed for entry into force.

In reference to North Korea’s nuclear test last October, the conference stressed that the event “highlighted the urged need for the early entry into force” of the CTBT.

This depended on the US, said Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.

“We want the United States to take a leading position in the CTBT,” Plassnik told reporters. US representatives did not attend the two-day event, which is considered crucial, as its ratification could encourage several others to do likewise.

The Vienna conference is held every two years and aims to facilitate the entry into force of the treaty that was negotiated in 1996. The CTBT envisages a global ban on nuclear testing.

Signed by 177 nations and ratified by 140, the entry into force is pending on the ratification of 44 nations with nuclear technology. Ten nations including the US, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea have yet to ratify the treaty.

The US opposes inspection provisions in the treaty. CTBT officials hope the US position could change after the next presidential elections, as the Democrat candidates, like former US president Bill Clinton, support ratification.

Voicing only thinly veiled criticism of the US position, Plassnik said unilateralism was a dead end.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth expressed optimism of swaying the remaining non-ratifiers.

He believed the time for entry into force was ripe, Toth told journalists at the sidelines of the conference.