Thursday, September 3, 2009

CTBT to Come Back in a Big Way

Here's a link to ArmsControlWonk link on Obama's latest initiative on CTBT. The Obama Administration has tasked the National Academies Committee on International Security and Arms Control (NAS-CISAC) to prepare a study on technical issues related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

While the Obama Administration is gearing to get the CTBT ratified in the US Senate, it might be useful for India to start the debate and analyse what are the issues involved, pluses and minuses of signing the CTBT. FMCT too will be up on our face if we don't start the debate right away within the country.

Some debate has got kickstarted with the recent statement of Mr. K Santhanam, who stated that the 1998 tests were not sufficient and that we will have to do more tests. However, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) chief R Chidambaram is on record as saying that the bombs yield was 45 kilotons (45,000 tonnes of conventional explosive.

Mr. Brajesh Mishra commenting on Santhanam's statements noted (in India Tonight, CNBC with Mr. Karan Thapar ) that India was originally planning to conduct six tests. However, at the end of five tests, Mr. R. Chidambaram, then chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission called to say that the tests were successful and whether they should go for a sixth test or not. Mr. Brajesh Mishra is reported to have noted that if the five tests were successful, there was no need for a sixth one. Later in 2003, Chidambaram, in an essay for the Wisconsin Project on Arms Control had written that Indian scientists can make nuclear weapons of "any type of size," including a neutron bomb, based on information obtained from the 1998 tests.

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