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Nuclear India: The Catalyst Role of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

erschienen in der Publikation "Jahrbuch für internationale Sicherheitspolitik 2000" (ISBN: 3-8132-0711-0) - Dezember 2000

Vollständiger Beitrag als PDF:  PDF ansehen PDF downloaden  9 Seiten (129 KB)


India’s nuclear ambitions have helped to mould international non-proliferation arrangements. Its 1974 atomic detonation, which is described as a ‚peaceful nuclear explosion‘ (PNE), triggered a series of major international developments. It impelled the secret formation of the London Club of nuclear suppliers, the reshaping of the international non-proliferation regime, and the inclusion of dual-use items in Western technology-export controls. After straddling the nuclear fence for almost a quarter-century, India finally gate-crashed the nuclear club in 1998 by conducting a series of nuclear-weapons tests. A major catalyst in the Indian decision was the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Concluded in 1996, the CTBT met with stiff opposition from India, which failed to stop its adoption despite casting a veto at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament. No treaty has impacted as much on Indian nuclear thinking and policy as the CTBT. But for this treaty, India may still be trying to make up its mind whether to go overtly nuclear. The CTBT awakened India to the technical imperatives of its long-held nuclear option and to its closing window of opportunity. By seeking to forcibly ‚capture‘ India through a coercive entry-into-force provision, the treaty pushed India over the nuclear threshold. Although the treaty is no longer a barrier to India’s nuclear ambitions as the country has conducted whatever tests it wanted, it still arouses strong passions within the country. Critics contend that the CTBT is not so much about testing as about verification, particularly through technical espionage involving national intelligence assets. They also see the CTBT as an important pillar of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, which divides the world into nuclear ‚haves‘ and ‚have-nots‘ and gives only five countries the legal right to possess nuclear weapons.

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