Nuclear test ban body offers India 'observer' status

Representational Pic

Vienna (IANS) The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has offered India an "Observer" status and access to the International Monitoring System (IMS) data.

Addressing a group of Indian journalists at CTBTO headquarters in Vienna Austria, Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said, "I'm not asking India to ratify (the treaty)...I know that is not possible now...but I think giving India the opportunity to join as an observer could be a good starting point."

CTBTO runs the International Monitoring System (IMS) that constantly monitors the planet for nuclear explosions and shares findings with its member states. At present, IMS has 337 facilities, located in 89 countries.

"I think India will gain a lot with data that you don't have access to now...Nowhere can you get this quality of data necessary for earthquake monitoring and following the radioisotope dispersion," added Zerbo.

CTBT is a global treaty with the objective of banning all nuclear explosions across the world. In 1996, it was opened for signature after being adopted by the UN General Assembly. However, the treaty has yet to come into force as it is considered "discriminatory" by several countries including India. 

India has not signed the treaty yet as it favours five nuclear weapon states -- China, US, Russia, France and UK. India wants the treaty to have a clause on complete nuclear disarmament.

Although US and China have signed the treaty but they are yet to ratify it. Pakistan has also not signed the treaty as yet.

Zerbo pointed out that China has agreed to set up five IMS stations on its soil. Pakistan, he said, has joined the organisation as an observer.

He has invited India to attend a science and technology conference scheduled between June 24 and 28 in Vienna.

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