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Objectives and Implementation

Acronym Report No.10

The Treaty has to date been signed by more than 140 countries and ratified by two. All five declared nuclear weapon powers signed on the first day. Israel and all but three of the 44 states listed as part of the article XIV entry-into-force requirement have also signed. The three hold-outs are India, Pakistan and North Korea. Of these, India's high profile refusal to join what it characterised as 'an unequal treaty' is the main stumbling block. India's political and nuclear ambitions, coupled with the tactical decisions of those responsible for such a stringent entry-into-force requirement, may have sentenced the CTBT to a legal limbo: signed but unable to be sealed. While it does not enhance the reputation of the international legal regime to have treaties stuck for long periods of time on the wrong side of full implementation, this does not necessarily mean that the CTBT cannot fulfil its major objectives. This final chapter examines the role and relevance of the CTBT and the political factors which will affect its implementation and credibility in the future.


At the simplest level, the CTBT was intended to prevent nuclear explosions from being conducted by anyone, anywhere, for any reason. In environmental terms, that is a major step which the Treaty appears likely to achieve, providing that its precarious legal status does not cause it to collapse in the future.

Further than that, there were divergences of opinion about the role of the Treaty in proliferation, capping the nuclear arms race, and nuclear disarmament. The NWS saw the test ban treaty as an instrument to curb horizontal proliferation, but it also fulfilled an important role for them in marshalling international support for the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. The P-5 accepted that the test ban would constrain the modernisation and development of their nuclear weapons, but resisted the NNWS' argument that the CTBT should also be a tool for disarmament. As the non-aligned countries pushed unsuccessfully for treaty language that would make clear the intention to prevent modernisation, development and new nuclear weapons, the NWS stressed the importance of maintaining the 'safety and reliability' of their weapons. These were ambiguous terms, ranging from concerns about handling, unauthorised use, and accidental detonation of a nuclear warhead through ignition of the chemical explosives, to inclusion of experiments for increasing the efficiency of the fission trigger of a thermonuclear bomb or testing design modifications, such as changing yield-to-weight ratios. As Sergei Kortunov, Director of the Department for Export Control, Conversion and Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted: "Arguments about ensuring warhead reliability through testing are often used to conceal an aggressive counterforce strategy and the 'third generation' weapon concept."

The zero yield decision ruled out low yield testing and hydronuclear experiments resulting in any fission yield, however small. This was a considerable victory for arms control advocates and the NNWS. It was brought about by a combination of factors. The persistent disagreements among the P-5 over permitted thresholds prevented the US from holding on to its preferred 4 lb. yield level. Targeted information from Washington arms controllers, backed up by the JASON report assessing the marginal utility of HNEs provided the Clinton administration with the arguments to support the zero yield decision. The massive public protests against the resumption of French testing forced the Chirac government to seek some way of buying back international favour and at the same time reminded Clinton of the strength of public opinion against any kind of nuclear testing. France, which had pushed for the highest threshold at 100-300 tons, also claims that the six tests in 1995-6 enabled it to calibrate the computers for simulated testing, making it possible to drop its threshold demand, thus paving the way for Clinton's zero yield announcement. Britain, dependent as it is on US facilities, had little choice but to follow. Since zero yield had been China's position in negotiations, Beijing had no public option but to embrace the decision, although it is understood that there were some internal problems. Of the P-5, Russia had most difficulty, but came on board after Clinton gave reassurances on technical assistance during two summits with Yeltsin, in October 1995 and April 1996.

Maintaining the stockpiles

After agreeing to the zero yield CTBT, several of the NWS have emphasised the importance of building up research and skills in alternative activities, including laboratory testing and simulations. The United States has its $4 billion 'scientific based stockpile stewardship' plans. This includes a planned programme of 'subcritical' tests, using the Nevada Test Site, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments are to be conducted. Los Alamos has the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrotest (DARHT) facility underway and plans for an Advanced Hydrotest Facility at the Nevada site.

Less is known about the programmes and facilities of the other NWS. When it accepted the zero yield decision in May 1996, Russia spoke of stockpile management in terms almost identical with the US. MinAtom subsequently procured supercomputer technology from the United States for Arzamas-16 and Chelyabinsk-70, despite US attempts to pull out of a deal that Moscow thought had been promised when Yeltsin agreed to the zero yield decision. The Russians want to put in place a programme able to analyse and evaluate data from past tests and develop advanced computer codes to simulate the processes of thermonuclear explosions. The programme would incorporate hydrodynamic testing and laboratory experiments. Like the US, Russia wants to use and maintain its remaining underground test site, in part as an insurance against break-out, should the test ban or non-proliferation regime fail. But Russian officials acknowledge that they lag behind the US in money and facilities. They fear that if the US programme is intended to push forward the frontiers of nuclear research and development without testing, Russia would not be able to finance the programmes to keep up.

France is building its own ignition facility for ICF, the Laser Mégajoule near Bordeaux, and has begun construction on a DARHT-style facility for conducting hydrodynamic experiments, known as AIRIX. One of the justifications for the final six nuclear tests which France insisted on in 1995-6 was calibration of its computerised simulation capabilities, the 10 billion French franc programme: Préparation a La Limitation des Essais Nucléaires (PALEN). Britain would be very dependent on US cooperation and facilities if Aldermaston scientists wished to pursue this kind of research to any significant level. To bring reluctant P-5 nuclear institutions on board the zero yield decision, the US has reportedly offered to share some of its data and expertise, not only with its NATO allies, Britain and France, but also potentially with Russia and China.

Assessment of how much will be possible under these programmes must be balanced with the recognition that nuclear weapon laboratories are in the business of talking up their capabilities to their government funders. Likewise, governments undertaking arms control measures - and especially those subject to democratic ratification processes - must reassure their military by minimising the effect the legal constraints will have. Nevertheless, Theodore Taylor, formerly a nuclear weapon designer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has raised concerns that inertial confinement fusion experiments could provide data useful to the design of new types of nuclear weapons. The recent deployment of the modified B61-11 earth-penetrating gravity bomb has also been cited as an example of a significant enhancement accomplished without the nuclear test explosions prohibited by the CTBT.

In statements to the CD, the UN General Assembly and First Committee, some of the non-aligned countries, notably India and Pakistan, have repeatedly raised concerns about how much modernisation and qualitative improvement is possible if the NWS take a mechanistic view of the CTBT and seek to replace what they are giving up under the Treaty by testing with high-tech research facilities in the laboratories. India and Pakistan have made clear that the credibility of the CTBT rests in part on how it affects vertical as well as horizontal proliferation. It may be partly accurate to call their criticisms self-serving, as some P-5 officials have, but these concerns are shared by many more, from scientists and arms control experts within the NWS to government officials and diplomats among the non-nuclear countries.

Richard Garwin, a former nuclear weapon designer, said in 1993 that "a reliable stockpile of nuclear weapons identical to those that we plan to keep in the inventory after 1996 can be maintained for many decades by the same kind of sampling and non-nuclear testing and remanufacturing that we practise now." Other US nuclear scientists support the view that an 'engineering-based' stockpile stewardship programme would be adequate for maintaining the ten warhead designs the US intends to keep in its stockpile. But this would be if they ruled out modifying or improving the weapons. Juxtaposed with the expensive and high tech shopping list in the 'science-based stockpile stewardship' programme adopted by Clinton, an engineering approach would rely on warhead surveillance, computer simulation, chemical experiments, and laboratory experiments on weapon components to monitor ageing, ensure safety and provide confidence. It would not require subcritical experiments, the National Ignition Facility or DARHT.

Kortunov made the same point with respect to the Russian arsenal: "Stockpile confidence could be maintained without nuclear testing, by continuing to disassemble sample warheads, inspecting them for evidence of deterioration, and non-nuclear testing of the components. The non-nuclear tests include imploding instrumented primaries after the fissile material is replaced by inert material and following the progression of the implosion with fast X-ray cameras. Indeed, these procedures lie at the heart both of the Russian and the US reliability testing programmes today." During the first preparatory meeting of the 2000 Review Conference of the States Parties to the NPT, held in New York in April 1997, NGOs and arms control specialists raised concerns about the costs, scope and intentions of science-based stockpile stewardship and its implications for the credibility of the CTBT. The US government was urged to cancel the planned subcritical tests and to redefine stockpile stewardship as: "passive caretaking of existing arsenals under safe conditions and international safeguards, while they await disablement and dismantlement pursuant to article VI of the NPT."

Subcritical tests

On April 4, 1997, the US DOE announced that it intended to conduct two subcritical tests in Nevada this year and go ahead with the programme which had been postponed during CTBT negotiations in 1996. The decision was criticised by several states, who objected that these were nuclear weapon tests which could contribute to modernisation and weapon development. In 1996, while Western group countries made quiet diplomatic approaches to the US government to postpone the tests, India, Pakistan and others attacked the concept of subcritical testing of nuclear devices as inconsistent with the objectives and purpose of the CTBT. Subcritical experiments use high explosives and nuclear weapon materials, including plutonium, to 'gain important data that will be used to maintain the stockpile without conducting nuclear explosions banned by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty'. The US government insists that subcritical testing is consistent with the zero yield CTBT. Indeed, it is clear that subcritical testing was included in the Stockpile Stewardship package deal as a pay-off to the Pentagon and the nuclear weapon laboratories for accepting the zero yield decision in August 1995. Nevertheless, the Clinton administration was sufficiently sensitive to the concerns of CD negotiators that the programme was postponed until the CTBT could be concluded and signed.

The April 4 announcement stressed that the JASON group, which had been instrumental in convincing Clinton of the marginal utility of HNEs, considered that subcritical testing "will add valuable scientific information to our database relevant to the performance of our nuclear weapons, and... there is no conceivable scenario in which these experiments lead to criticality." Others are sceptical. Frank von Hippel, who served as assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology from 1993-4, questioned the necessity of subcritical tests and criticised the decision to hold them underground. The first of the tests, now scheduled for June and September, 1997, are to be conducted underground at the Nevada Test Site in the 'Low Yield Nuclear Experimental Research' (LYNER) facility [now named U1a]. Von Hippel raised verification concerns and questioned whether it would be possible to distinguish between HNEs, banned by the zero yield CTBT, and a subcritical test, which the US government says is not: "from space, activity at the test site associated with a subcritical test would be virtually indistinguishable from that for any other underground experiment, including a hydronuclear test...seismic data would be of no use in determining what fraction of the energy from an explosion was nuclear." In the eyes of some CTBT signatories, the fact that subcritical tests involve the detonation of some of the warhead materials, including minute quantities of plutonium, qualify them to be regarded as 'nuclear test explosions', whether or not there is a release of nuclear energy from direct fission. The lack of any definition of a nuclear test explosion in the Treaty scope means that this can be interpreted only in the light of the negotiating record. The United States argues that the statement made in August 1995, when it dropped its 4 lb. criterion in favour of the zero yield, is clear on this point. At that time, Clinton identified six 'safeguards' that the US linked with its decision.

Three of these safeguards were cited on April 4 as relevant to subcritical tests:

The conducting of subcritical tests gives rise to two fundamental challenges to the credibility of the CTBT: verification effectiveness and political purpose. To reduce the opportunity for compliance ambiguities and challenges which could undermine the CTBT regime, Von Hippel argued that the US should not go forward with any subcritical experiments unless it has undertaken a peer review to determine whether the tests were needed (and for what), looked into whether the experiment could be carried out above-ground, and put in place transparency arrangements sufficient to provide international verification that the experiments were indeed subcritical. Although the release of a JASON review into subcritical tests the day before the April 4 announcement suggests that attempts were made to meet the first of these conditions, the concerns of many CTBT negotiators and analysts have not been allayed. Calls have been growing for the subcritical test programme to be cancelled. The Clinton administration, with its eyes on a potentially difficult struggle to get the treaty ratified, feels it has no choice but to present cast-iron backing for the Stockpile Stewardship programme and associated activities. Afraid that the labs, the intelligence community and nuclear defence proponents may lobby the Senate hawks with arguments that a test ban will leave the US defenceless, Clinton is bent on talking up the money, programmes and safeguards he has put in place to ensure that the Treaty will be effective against proliferation without materially affecting US reliance on nuclear weapons.

Clinton's strategy is understandable, but it can be a two-edged sword that creates as many problems as it appears to solve. If the subcritical tests go ahead, the US may be setting a dangerous precedent which will complicate verification and could undermine the CTBT regime. International treaties are instruments of both law and politics. The dominant powers should beware of jettisoning the spirit and purpose of the long-sought CTBT, as shared by the majority of its signatories, for a narrowly technical and legalistic interpretation. Whatever example the US sets in underground experiments and the use of sophisticated technology to continue refining their nuclear weapon systems, it should not be surprised if other countries strive to do the same. The pace at which technology is now advancing can narrow the gaps in expertise much sooner than we might expect.


The grave difficulties experienced by the United States and Russia in getting ratification of two important treaties, START II and the CWC, through their Senate and Duma processes, must raise concerns about ratification of the CTBT. In the end, the marshalling of high profile public backing, combined with considerable concessions to the hawks enabled the US to ratify START II and get in just under the wire with the CWC. Yeltsin was not so successful, and Russia has to date not yet ratified either accord. Certain provisions of the CTBT, especially the zero yield scope and some aspects of verification, were the subject of considerable battles among the different US agencies. With a Republican majority in the Senate it is almost inevitable that Senator Jesse Helms et al will try to hold up ratification of the CTBT, as they did with the CWC. At best, they may push to alter some of the understandings and wring additional concessions; at worst they could refuse to consider ratifying the CTBT until it is signed by India, Pakistan and North Korea, perhaps using the excuse that there is no point in ratifying a treaty that has little prospect of taking effect.

Such an approach would reinforce the vulnerability of the CTBT. With entry into force made hostage to the political calculations of threshold nuclear weapon states, it is doubly imperative that the declared NWS and Israel reinforce their signatures with early ratification. During the negotiations in 1996, some diplomats and observers speculated that Britain, Russia and China may have had an ulterior motive in insisting on making the Treaty's full implementation conditional on ratification by the threshold nuclear states as well as by the P-5. According to this theory, they imposed the inflexible article XIV as a form of 'easy exit' provision, akin to the ten year opt-out proposed by the United States in 1994. They calculated that India would refuse the Treaty (and made little attempt to address India's stated concerns). Their signatures in 1996 would extend the moratoria on testing, but if in 8-10 years time they decided they needed to test new warheads or develop follow-on systems to those in the current arsenals, the fact that the CTBT had not entered into force would offer a convenient excuse for getting out of the Treaty and testing again. This may appear to be a far-fetched conspiracy theory, but given the Treaty's precarious status, the proponents of the article XIV conditions now need to make stronger efforts to dispel any doubts about their real commitment and intent.

Early ratification by the P-5 will remove such uncertainties, send a strong signal to the hold-outs and increase the pressure on them to join. Furthermore, if entry into force is not accomplished within three years after the Treaty was opened for signature, article XIV provides for a conference of those states which have ratified to decide on measures to accelerate the ratification process and facilitate entry into force. To be effective, such a conference will need to include the P-5 and more than half of the signatories. Rather than delaying or avoiding the issue, the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations need to be devising effective strategies for getting the CTBT passed through their elected assemblies. The Treaty has widespread public backing, with opposition coming mainly from unreconstructed Cold Warriors and the nuclear weapon institutions. Even so, the Russian and US administrations will have to be determined to get the CTBT through. On current assessments, ratification by the two largest nuclear powers may be a tough and long-drawn-out process.

By contrast, with a majority of 179 MPs, the new Labour Government in Britain would have little opposition and could easily accomplish ratification within its first year. By taking the lead in ratifying the CTBT, Labour would perhaps mitigate some of the damage done by the previous government's intransigence over entry into force. France, too, has a clear interest in contributing to a credible and permanent test ban regime by ratifying early, since its signature on the Treaty of Rarotonga leaves Paris with nowhere in the Pacific to resume testing if the Treaty should break down in the future. China's ratification process could be relatively simple, depending on the political will of the government rather than persuasion of senators or deputies. Beijing tends to wait until the US and Russia have acted, which reinforces the view of China as a lesser power. Given the peculiar difficulties now being experienced by both those countries with regard to ratifying international agreements, China would enhance its prestige (and scotch any lingering suspicions about its ultimate intent) if it made an independent decision to ratify early.

Entering into force

In addition to early ratification, what measures can CTBT signatories undertake, unilaterally and/or collectively to enable the Treaty to take effect? There are two sides to this question: firstly, what measures can the states participating in the Ratification Conference take to facilitate entry into force; and secondly, under what conditions would the hold-outs be prepared to join?

The Ratification Conference can take place from September 1999 onwards, with the possibility of annual meetings. The NTB Committee Chair, Jaap Ramaker, ruled out international sanctions against hold-out states as an option for consideration. It was also made clear that the Ratification Conference was not a Waiver Conference and did not have the power to waive the conditions on entry into force. That leaves provisional application, with or without various carrots or sticks to induce any hold-outs among the list of 44 to accede.

There are minimalist and maximalist approaches to provisional application. Maximally, those states which have signed and ratified could collectively agree to operate and fund the CTBTO as if the Treaty had entered into force for them. Each participant would confer authority on the provisional CTBTO to carry out all the tasks entrusted to it, including inspections. However, given the sensitive nature of OSI and the heavy bargaining over this provision among some of the key states, notably China, the United States, Russia, Israel and Pakistan, this may be resisted by some, on grounds that the Treaty is not binding until it has fully entered into force. Minimally, some form of provisional operation of the Treaty might be agreed instead. It would be possible, but less convincing, to operate the verification system with only a voluntary provision for inspections. However, in view of the potential ambiguities arising from some underground 'stockpile stewardship' activities, there could be the risk of compliance challenges without any agreed means of inspecting the sites. Trial by media or unsubstantiated intelligence leaks could undermine the treaty if it is held in limbo too long. In this event, it will be particularly important for the NWS to initiate supplementary arrangements to increase transparency, even if only amongst themselves. Relying on supplementary arrangements would not be ideal, since it carries the different but (arguably) lesser risk of alienating others by appearing to go outside the presumed equality of the international regime.

If, in a worst case scenario, the CTBT looks as if it will collapse if it is not made legally binding, more radical initiatives may have to be considered. The states which have signed and ratified could collectively agree to adopt and sign a CTBT identical in all respects but article XIV. This would probably be impractical, as it might be difficult to persuade all participating states not to reopen other parts of the CTBT with which they were dissatisfied. Moreover, it is likely that the new treaty would have to be ratified nationally all over again. Alternatively, all states which had ratified the CTBT could join the PTBT (if, like France and China, they are not already Parties) and call an amendment conference of that Treaty to adopt the CTBT minus article XIV as an amendment. According to the provisions of the PTBT, an amendment can be adopted by a simple majority of Parties, including the depositary states, Britain, Russia [USSR] and the United States. This would have the bonus of not requiring additional ratification and of including India and Pakistan, who are both Parties to the PTBT. If India were amenable, it could be a face-saving way for it to be brought into the CTBT without signing the 1996 Treaty which it had formally rejected. However, if New Delhi were not prepared to go along, such a tactic could backfire badly, cornering India and risking its withdrawal from the PTBT. Both these strategies are overly complex, improbable and would carry rather high risks. However, they serve to demonstrate the difficulties ahead and the dangers inherent in making the Treaty's legal implementation contingent on the national decisions of a rigid list of 44 nuclear capable states.

Short of such drastic initiatives to bring the Treaty into force, what circumstances would enable the hold-outs to join the CTBT? Pakistan, despite having obtained the 'five-plus-three' EIF provision it had demanded, backed away from signing and made its accession conditional on India's. If India signs, so will Pakistan. It is thought that North Korea will use the leverage conferred on it as one of the 44 listed states to try to get further concessions from the United States related to the October 1994 Framework Agreement. This may take time, but is not thought to be insuperable. That leaves India, which memorably stated that it "will never sign this unequal Treaty, not now, nor later."

To get out of the current stalemate, the following questions need to be asked: What does India want? How many of its stated requirements are genuine, and how many were invoked rhetorically, in order to provide an excuse for vetoing the Treaty? Under what circumstances would India be prepared to sign and ratify this CTBT? Under what circumstances would India give up its nuclear option? New Delhi's response to the last question has been given time and time again: nuclear disarmament by all the NWS. Yet nuclear disarmament is a process with which India has also to engage. The CTBT was a step in the right direction, though not the whole mile. To which steps would India agree to contribute? Finally, what circumstances would convince India that irreversible progress on nuclear disarmament is underway? If these were met, would India then accede to the CTBT or hold to its 1996 rejection? To give meaning to its protests against the CTBT, India needs to go beyond the rhetoric and gestures of opposition and frame concrete responses to these questions. The P-5, for their part, have to address India's arguments and the logic of its position on global nuclear disarmament more seriously.

Despite considerable criticism, New Delhi has refused for more than 25 years to accede to the NPT. The US 'leak' about the alleged test preparations early in 1996 backfired if it was intended to shame India into the Treaty. Instead, in the election run-up, nationalist sentiment was stirred up in public, media and political debates, most of it pro-nuclear. Similarly, cornering India through the EIF debates did not force India on board, but rather caused it to veto adoption of the Treaty by the CD. Perhaps it would have vetoed in any case, but most observers think not. By now it should be obvious that India does not respond positively to strong-arm tactics. India's concerns about the CTBT's weaknesses on qualitative development and its role as an instrument to maintain the nuclear status quo rather than to promote nuclear disarmament had validity, regardless of whether its motives in raising them were tactical or genuine. India's regional security concerns are also significant, and more is needed to build confidence and enhance relations among the populations of South Asia. This is pre-eminently up to the countries concerned, but the P-5 and influential neighbours could do more to foster transparency and confidence-building measures among themselves and in support of regional initiatives.

If India's major concern were its nuclearised (or nuclearising) neighbours, locking China and Pakistan into a permanent test ban would be to New Delhi's greater advantage than the present limbo. Without entry into force it is doubtful whether on-site inspections could be authorised if any suspicious seismic event or radioactivity were detected in the region by the IMS. However, such considerations do not seem to be as persuasive as one would expect, prompting the conclusion that: "Indian nuclear weapons policy has only a tenuous connection with genuine perceptions of security or threats to India's position in Asia or the sub-continent." As the media debate over the CTBT and retention of India's nuclear option showed, the main attraction of nuclear weapons for India lies in their role as a prime currency of power and international prestige. India's desire to hold onto the nuclear option mirrors Britain's reasons in the 1950s. Britain was then a declining international and economic power, determined to keep a seat at the top table. Likewise, India has watched some of its Asian and South-East Asian neighbours overtaking it economically, while countries such as South Africa have begun to play a greater leadership role among the NAM. Like waning Britain, India is looking to the nuclear shortcut to 'punch above its weight' in international politics. It is not working. In October, 1996, just after vetoing the CTBT, India bid for a seat on the UN Security Council and lost to Japan by 142 votes to 40. Nevertheless, the repeated assertions by the NWS, and especially by small countries like Britain and France, that nuclear weapons are an indispensable component of their defence and security, only reinforce this argument in the considerations of the threshold and nuclear wannabe states. Similarly the congruence between the permanent members of the Security Council and the five declared nuclear weapon states, although not directly causal, perpetuates the perception that you have to have nuclear weapons to be counted.

Both the US and France have acknowledged that conducting nuclear tests was not just for a scientific/military purpose, but also served to demonstrate the power of their weapons and their ability and resolve to use them. Having taken such a high profile stand in 1996, India is unlikely to accede to the CTBT until it has reduced the role of nuclear ambiguity in its policies. To help India and other wannabe NWS to give up their nuclear options, the declared NWS will need to move further towards diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies and defence doctrines. The international community as a whole must work harder to de-link nuclear possession, power and influence. If the CTBT is to be credible, it must be accompanied by further steps towards nuclear disarmament. If it is seen to be part of an ongoing process to reduce nuclear weapons quantitatively and qualitatively, the CTBT will be able to establish an international norm against testing, whether or not it actually enters into force. If, on the other hand, the NWS prove India correct by ignoring the nuclear disarmament component of the CTBT's mandate to develop ever more sophisticated laboratory means of modernising their weapons, the Treaty will fail.


As the CTBTO is being set up in Vienna, the international monitoring system is also taking shape. The seismic network is more than half set in place, due to the work done over the years by the GSE technical tests. However, considerable work is still needed on the networks for monitoring radiation, infrasound and hydroacoustic signals. The aim is to have the IMS fully operational by the earliest time for entry into force, which would be September 1998. Many consider this to be overly ambitious. Some doubt whether the funding and technical hurdles can be overcome in that short time. Others doubt whether the treaty will ever enter into force. There is some danger that if the Treaty languishes for a long time in legal limbo states will cut their funding to the CTBTO. That would be disastrous. The Treaty needs to set up and operate a credible verification system in order to create the incentive for entry into force. If not, states with advanced NTM may make allegations of non-compliance. If there are no independent means of providing corroborating or contradicting evidence the CTBT regime could become undermined, as 'trial by media' replaces international verification. Moreover, the verification regime has intrinsic value as an instrument for international cooperation and confidence building. It integrates additional components into the global non-proliferation regime, which through synergy can enhance it at all levels.

There could also be considerable non-CTBT spin-offs of value to the international community. These include the detection of radionuclides in the atmosphere, which could function as an early warning system in the event of nuclear accidents, and enhanced seismic capabilities, with potential benefits for earthquake prediction or amelioration. Scientists and technicians from all the States Parties are to be involved in training programmes, which will be particularly beneficial to developing countries. The data passing through the IDC from the IMS will be copious and could be useful for other kinds of research projects. To offset the high costs and increase the civilian benefits, consideration should be given to sharing data with universities and research organisations, with due consideration (of course) to information which may be sensitive to States Parties. The IMS was developed on the basis of the potential participation of all countries. If states listed in the IMS do not sign or ratify at any early stage, ways should be found for them to contribute their stations in any case. Pakistan has already indicated a willingness to do this. India withdrew its stations from the IMS at the height of the deadlock over entry into force in the CD. Neither India nor the CTBTO should treat this as an immutable decision, or one which could be reversed only by India's accession to the Treaty. By emphasising the civilian benefits of sharing this international data, Pakistan and India could be encouraged to participate in the IMS, albeit with reduced access and privileges if they remain outside the Treaty. Although understandable, it is likewise counterproductive to exclude Pakistan and any other countries which apply to be observers to the CTBTO. Involving them now as observers will make it easier for them to join in the future (and perhaps more likely that they will).

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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