Magazine article Arms Control Today

India Reaffirms Its CTBT Policy, Pakistan Follows

Magazine article Arms Control Today

India Reaffirms Its CTBT Policy, Pakistan Follows

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee issued a joint statement September 15 reaffirming India's voluntary suspension of nuclear testing pending entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its commitment not to block the treaty's entry into force. In an apparent response, Pakistan said it would also maintain its testing moratorium until the CTBT enters into force.

Vajpayee and Clinton discussed the test ban, among other issues, over the course of a four-day summit in Washington. The summit was the second between the two leaders in six months, and the joint statement appears to marginally expand India's pledge during Clinton's March visit to New Delhi at which India "reaffirmed" its "voluntary commitment to forgo further nuclear tests." (See ACT, April 2000.) The most recent statement again "reaffirmed that, subject to its supreme national interests, [India] will continue its voluntary moratorium until the [CTBT] comes into effect" and will not "block entry into force of the Treaty."

At a September 15 press conference, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth told reporters that the statement was "a new element" in the U.S.-Indian relationship because it "spelled out" the Indian government's intention to continue a moratorium on nuclear tests until the CTBT enters into force. However, both Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh, the Indian foreign minister, have repeatedly stressed India's willingness to convert its testing moratorium into a "de jure obligation. …

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