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N-power have strategy to save arsenals from CTBT - The Times of India

Times of India News Service ()
July 13, 1998

Title: N-power have strategy to save arsenals from CTBT
Author: Times of India News Service
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 13, 1998

The five nuclear weapon states have worked out a strategy to
protect their nuclear arsenals from the effects of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), according to Ms Savita
Pande, a fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis
(IDSA). Ms Pande is a specialist on nuclear issues and South
Asian security

In her book India and the Nuclear Test Ban, published in 1996, by
the defence institute, she has given examples how the Big Five
were trying to protect their nuclear weapons status.

She said that France and the United Kingdom want to conduct, what
are known as "safety tests" in exceptional circumstances. China
has demanded that nuclear explosions should be allowed for non-
military purposes. The U.S. has laid down that the five nuclear
weapons states could conduct "very small tests." Russia has
joined hands with the U.S., the UK, and France, by saying that
the CTBT should allow it to conduct low yield explosions.

IDSA director Jasjit Singh has pointed out in his forward to the
book, that while negotiations relating to the CTBT were in
progress, the U.S. finalised an agreement with France, for the
sharing of data and technology to make new weapons which would
not require tests. In the same period, he says, the U.S. awarded
a $ 94 million contract to IBM, for the supply of ultra super
computers. for the purpose of designing and testing (without
explosion) new nuclear weapons.

He says that the nuclear arms race, which stopped with the end of
the Cold War, is likely begin and get legitimised once again,
such was the nature of the CTBT. According to Mr Singh, the CTBT
must also be viewed in the context ,of other developments. He
says that the U.S. was planning to deploy an anti-ballistic
missile system in East Asia, in which Japan has agreed to co-
operate. Ibis will only make China improve its nuclear arsenal,
he argues.

Mr Singh's and Ms Pande's observations on the CTBT assume
significance, as prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's special
envoy Jaswant Singh and U.S. deputy secretary of state Strobe
Talbott are meeting in Frankfurt, to discuss India's signing of
the CTBT.

After the Pokhran tests on May 11 and May 13, the Prime
Minister's Office, the Department of Atomic Energy, the ministry
of external affairs, the United Nations missions in New York and
Geneva and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have
been constantly in touch with each other on the CTBT issue.
"Indian embassies in Washington, London, Paris and Moscow have
been briefed about India's stand on the treaty," a source said
here on Thursday. It added that all diplomatic activity was
stepped up after the May 13 test.

The source said that every country-China, France and U.S. to name
some, issued a moratorium on further nuclear weapons testing, as
a prelude to endorsing the CTBT. "But, India will not blindly
sign the treaty without getting something in return," the source

Mr Singh has expressed the view that if India signs the CTBT; it
would not close the country's nuclear option. "But, it will
define the type of deterrent capability that India can acquire,"
the defence expert has stated. However, the source on Thursday
indicated that India may not accept the treaty stipulating
conditions for the deterrent capability. "India does not require
nuclear weapons to enhance its prestige and status, although
nuclear weapons have constituted the currency of international
power for half-a-century," he has stated.

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