The United States hopes to launch a diplomatic effort to persuade countries like India, Pakistan and Israel to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and thus bring it into force, President Barack Obama’s new trouble-shooter for non-proliferation said in Washington.
Testifying before the Senate foreign relations committee, Ellen Tauscher, former Democrat Congress-woman from California, said on Tuesday that if confirmed for the post of undersecretary for arms control and international security, she would work towards a number of nonproliferation goals including the ratification of the CTBT.
“I share the administration’s commitment to obtaining the Senate’s advice and consent to ratify the CTBT and to launch a diplomatic effort to bring states that have not signed the treaty on board so it can be brought into force,” she said.
China, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the US have not ratified the CTBT.
Tauscher was clearly focussed on getting her own Senate to ratify the treaty. US ratification, she argued, would be “one way to persuade countries to permanently end nuclear testing and curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons”.
Her testimony indicated the CTBT, part of President Barack Obama’s publicly stated ambition of a nuclear weapon-free world, was well down the list of US nonproliferation goals.
When it came to the CTBT, Tauscher’s primary concern was to first persuade the US Senate to ratify the treaty. Though the CTBT was signed by then President Bill Clinton, the Senate rejected the treaty in a 51-48 vote in October 1999.
Tauscher spoke of finding means to assure them the US had the technical ability to replicate a nuclear explosion “without the need for an actual test.”
Arundhati Ghose, the ambassador who led India’s opposition to the CTBT, termed Tauscher’s statement as basically “harmless.”
Tauscher listed advancing the promotion of “missile defence cooperation” among US allies as her first priority. This was followed by reforming the present defence trade export licensing system, extending the START arms control treaty with Russia, and addressing the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.