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The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)


The comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was finalized in 1996 after a thorough discussion for nearly a couple of decades. A number of serious efforts were made at the early stages of the treaty but they all were failed for one or other reason. However, The Treaty was brought to the United Nations General Assembly for negotiation and after a consecutive debate and negotiation it was signed by almost 71 states including five of the then nuclear- capable states. Nevertheless, the treaty aims to restrain nuclear tests or explosions anywhere on the plant, and to constrain the development and improvement of nuclear weapons but the treaty could not be approved because of the veto applied by India.


CTBT aims to freeze the nuclear advancement and reduce weapons of mass destruction and condemn any step in that direction. The desire was made in the said treaty to perish the nuclear arsenals from the whole world but none of the Nuclear Weapon State (NWS) materialized their claims despite the Treaty had been signed enthusiastically. The organization which was made for the implementation is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. The Treaty main features are;

.  The CTBT will ban any nuclear weapon test explosion.

.  The Treaty will establish an organization to implement its provisions and international verification measures.

. No inspection for the nuclear facilities but only the monitoring and verification of the nuclear explosions are involved in the Treaty.

. CTBT only forbids the nuclear explosions and testing; the nuclear research and activities concerned to the nuclear power are permissible activities according to the Treaty.

. The Treaty will enter into force after 180 days on the verification by all the states.

. Any kind of amendment in the treaty would be concerned to the Amendment Conference and will be adopted a positive vote of a majority of the states.


The Treaty had been negotiated for nearly two decades and was made a big fuss by the US and others. The participants were agreed on the preventing of nuclear modernization and the development of dangerous nuclear weapons. It had been primarily negotiated to control the quantative arms race among the nuclear weapon countries. The nuclear Testing or explosion is a milestone in nuclear weapon development activities. CTBT engaged the world to reduce and eliminate the nuclear weapons in this regard.


India maintains the world’s fourth largest military power and has been adopted the policy to enhance the weapons for its offensive potential since its existence. Pakistan must not sign the CTBT even if India signs because the unilateral signature of the Treaty as such would be suicidal, placing Pakistan at the mercy of India. If both the countries signs CTBT, it would be a comprehensive approach to arms control, incorporating measures for arms reduction and resolution the main dispute  of Kashmir and it would creat a climate of trust and confidence between the two countries.


Interestingly, India has been on the forefront of CTBT but now India opposes CTBT, Why? Because it acquire a big power status, an undisputed regional power and possibly a permanent seat in the Security Council. India rejects the CTBT and can’t sign them unless US do so because If US signs the CTBT then India would be pressurized to accept the Treaty and ratify them.


Pakistan should observe the national security interest which is the primary consideration and then must sign the treaty. They shouldn’t sign the CTBT, unless all countries ratify it and the 5 original nuclear states disarm completely of their nuclear arsenals. As long as there is no equality in dealing nuclear and non-nuclear state, between haves and have-nots. We need to sign CTBT only if India also agrees to do so. Every one knows that signing CTBT is bad for Pakistan. Once CTBT is signed Pakistan’s capacity to acquire or enhance weapons of nuclear technology will be constrained. Pakistan is being forced into signing CTBT. We are under financial pressure form loan giving countries and IMF and our government is extremely shortsighted in this matter and it will be unfortunate if our leaders accept this and sign CTBT. It is matter of principles; we can’t and must not compromise against the sovereignty of Pakistan and after signing this Treaty it is possible that we are enforced to sign some other treaties.

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