15 June, 2021

Sign And Be Counted

Now that the pressure is off, New Delhi can decide on whether to become a signatory to the CTBT or not on merits.

Sign And Be Counted

During the negotiating end-game of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), many strategic analysts and key government officials in India concluded that its entry into force provision, a uniquely pernicious requirement that 44 specified countries must ratifybefore the treaty could come into effect, was directed against India.

Moreover, this provision was an affront to Indian sovereignty. The CTBT's entry into force provision became a central grievance in the subsequent case made against the treaty by the Indian government: a noose crafted by the nuclear weapon states was tightening around India's neck and only an eleventh hour rejection of the treaty, and four decades of Indian support for a ban on nuclear testing, would suffice. This extrication strategy, based on high moral principle, took on a different colouration when India tested nuclear weapons just two years down the line.

The Senate's summary rejection of the CTBT along partisan lines should be a cautionary tale, for Americans as well as for Indians. Sometimes, things are not...

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