Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.
  • It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but has not entered into force, as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty.
  • The CTBT is the last barrier on the way to develop nuclear weapons.  It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs. When the Treaty enters into force it provides a legally binding norm against nuclear testing. The Treaty also helps prevent human suffering and environmental damages caused by nuclear testing.
  • India is a non signatory member to the treaty.

What is the difference between signature and ratification?

  • The signature to a treaty indicates that the country accepts the treaty.  It commits not to take any actions that would undermine the treaty’s purposes. A treaty is signed by a senior representative of a country such as the president or the foreign minister.
  • The ratification symbolizes the official sanction of a treaty to make it legally binding for the government of a country.  This process involves the treaty’s adoption by the legislature of a country such as the parliament.  It also includes the submission of the so-called instrument of ratification to the treaty’s depository, which for the CTBT is the UN Secretary-General.  Only then is the process of ratification officially concluded. The ratification of a treaty may require the adjustment of a country’s legislation, reflecting its commitments under the treaty.

For more on India and CTBT-click here