India blocks treaty to ban N-tests
Thursday 15 August 1996
The five declared nuclear powers - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - have all stopped nuclear testing and support the adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
However, India and Iran say they will not sign the treaty in its present form, partly because it does not commit the declared nuclear powers to a timetable for dismantling their weapons.
Together with Israel and Pakistan, India, which exploded a nuclear device in 1974, is regarded as a "threshold" nuclear power - one which either possesses nuclear weapons or is capable of assembling them at short notice. Both government and opposition parties in New Delhi object to a treaty that would leave China in possession of nuclear weapons while failing to guarantee India's security.
Western countries had hoped that the conference would approve the treaty at a plenary session today and send it to the United Nations in New York for ratification by member-states. However, at a committee meeting yesterday, India's chief representative in Geneva confirmed that her government would block transmission of the treaty to the plenary session. Pakistan said the CTBT talks would fail unless all nuclear "threshold" states signed it. "If one nuclear-capable state stays out of this treaty, the treaty is dead," said Munir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador at the talks.
Western countries, anxious to keep the treaty alive, even in a limited form, may try to send it to the UN General Assembly's next session on 17 September without Indian and Iranian support. Yet diplomats feared the submission of an unapproved text to the assembly might provoke broader opposition from non-aligned countries.
In its present form, the treaty would not take effect unless ratified by the five declared nuclear powers and the three "threshold" states. India says this requirement is unacceptable because it deprives India of the freedom to pursue a sovereign foreign policy.
Iran opposes the treaty on the grounds that it could enable foreign countries to use spy satellites to ensure compliance and demand "on-site" inspections of nuclear facilities. John Holum, the director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, said last week that Iran was between 10 and 15 years away from acquiring nuclear weapons.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...