The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty for binding global ban on nuclear explosive testing. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty yet.
The objective of the organization is to achieve the object and purpose of the Treaty, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with the Treaty, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among Member States.
Organs of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO)
The CTBTO consists of two organs, the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS).
• Preparatory Commission: The prime function of the Preparatory Commission is to establish a global verification regime as foreseen in the Treaty so that it will be operational by the time the Treaty enters into force.
• Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS): The PTS began its work on 17 March 1997 and has an international staff of approximately 270 members from 70 countries. It cooperates with the host countries in the development and running of an international network of 321 monitoring stations and 16 radionuclide laboratories.
India’s stand on CTBT
India’s past with the treaty to ban all nuclear tests in all places for all time. It never supported the treaty but it had been supporting during negotiations.
The roots of that exuberance can be traced to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous initiative in 1954 for a “standstill agreement” on nuclear testing. His intervention came at a time when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were detonating powerful nuclear weapons with increasing frequency. Nehru played an important role in building international momentum for the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which India joined. This treaty significantly reduced global levels of fallout, but did little to constrain the nuclear arms race.
It has been hard in recent years to discern a public debate on the CTBT in India. This is tragic in the very country that made the path-breaking call for the “standstill agreement”; has been observing a unilateral moratorium since 1998; is a champion of nuclear disarmament; and, in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the global non-proliferation efforts.” For all of its efforts in galvanising the creation of an effective international verification system, India is currently unable to derive either the political or the technical benefits from it. But 183 other countries do.