NEW YORK - With most of its 185 member states agreeing, the United Nations yesterday began an unusual debate: whether to adopt an already agreed-to resolution that could outlaw all future nuclear weapons tests.
Yesterday's session was unusual because the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was ratified last month by all but one of the nations that currently have the capability of producing nuclear weapons or power.
Because of the single objection, the CTBT yesterday was introduced as a General Assembly resolution, which requires only majority backing rather than the unanimous approval required of treaties.
Only India opposed the treaty, saying it wouldn't derail its nuclear weapons program until the five known nuclear powers agree to dismantle their's.
"The [treaty] text . . . far from being the intended historic step towards a nuclear weapons-free world, will only succeed in perpetuating a discriminatory status quo," said Prakash Shah, India's ambassador to the United Nations.
The agreement cannot become law unless the 44 nuclear nations sign it, though some states have said they plan to abide by it even without India's approval. These include Pakistan and Israel, which, like India, are considered undeclared nuclear powers.
After the resolution is adopted, the General Assembly can take the matter up again. If India's leaders change their minds, they can sign the treaty, making it law. …