The future of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is becoming brighter every passing year, as the CTBT verification system nears completion thus enhancing confidence in the Treaty. Tariq Rauf , Consulting Expert at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) stated that the verification technologies also have relevance for earthquake and tsunami warning. He was speaking during a round table organised by Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) titled “The ABC of Nuclear Testing and the CTBT” on Wednesday, July, 5, 2017. DG SSII Dr Shireen M Mazari chaired the discussion.
Rauf discussed issues related to Nuclear-Non-proliferation and gave an overview of various types of nuclear weapons. He also explained numerous purposes behind testing nuclear devices by states. He said that nuclear devices are tested; to demonstrate the capability, to test new weapons, to provide confidence in reliability of stockpiled weapons, to test effects of nuclear weapons on various types of military equipment and for peaceful purposes for example making excavations etc. He emphasised that there is no difference between peaceful nuclear explosions and nuclear weapon tests. Besides banning nuclear tests and explosion everywhere by everyone in the environment, CTBT also bans peaceful nuclear explosions, he added.
Giving an introduction on CTBT, Mr Rauf said the CTBT is the barrier to develop nuclear weapons. He said the treaty was negotiated in Geneva and opened for signature in September 1996. Since then, 183 countries have signed the Treaty and 166 countries have ratified the Treaty. For entry into force, he explained that 44 states, mentioned in the Annex 2 of CTBT have to ratify the treaty. Out of 44 states, all have signed with the exceptions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, and Pakistan. Five of the 44 Annex 2 States have signed but not ratified the CTBT; they are China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the United States. The United States and China are the only remaining NPT Nuclear Weapon States that have not ratified the CTBT.
Mr, Rauf further explained that the ratification of the treaty mainly depends on countries political decisions, which is the reason the treaty could not enter into force. He said that China has not ratified the treaty because the US has not done so.
While closing the talk, Dr Mazari emphasised that CTBT is not a discriminatory treaty. However, Pakistan has not signed the treaty as India is not a signatory to the treaty. She stressed that signing CTBT is a political and strategic decision at the end of the day. Dr Mazari said that Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence credibility is contingent upon updating the nuclear weapons and on India’s expensive military programme. She said that India has the fastest growing nuclear weapon programme in the world and reminded that since the nuclear tests of India and Pakistan in 1998, Pakistan has been suggesting to India a bilateral/regional arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons to which has never agreed.