Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Why is it in News?

The executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has invited India to be an observer in the CTBT.

How could India benefit by being an Observer?

  • Being an observer, India could gain access to data from the International Monitoring System. This system can detect even small nuclear explosions using seismology, hydro-acoustics, infra-sound and radionuclide technology.
  • This quality of data would aid India in earthquake monitoring and other civil and scientific applications like gas exploration.
  • Pakistan too, is an observer at the CTBTO and being an observer does not change a country’s status with respect to the CTBT.

India’s View:

  • India has always considered the CTBT to be a flawed agreement. Ratification of CTBT by non-nuclear nations neither poses any threat to the nuclear nations nor does it lay any framework for nuclear disarmament.
  • CTBT can be credible if it lays down disarmament timeline which should be ratified by all parties. Currently, the US and China have only signed the agreement but not ratified it.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):

  • CTBT bans nuclear explosions worldwide or anywhere else- in the atmosphere, underwater and underground.
  • It makes it very tough for nations to develop nuclear bombs initially, or for nations that already have them, to make more powerful bombs. It also averts the huge destruction caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.
  • It remains unenforced as 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, eight are still missing: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA. India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO):

  • It is an organization based in Vienna which was founded in 1996. The CTBTO’s main tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.
  • CTBTO manages over 300 stations in 89 countries have been built to monitor for signs of nuclear explosions around the globe and round the clock.
  • The International Monitoring System (IMS) of CTBTO monitors the Earth’s crust, atmosphere and the oceans to look for traces of radioactivity. It produces data that is useful in applications like disaster early warning, scientific research on the Earth’s inner structures, climate change or meteors.