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A Point Of Observation…

India had declined to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), arguing that the “Treaty is discriminatory in nature in its present format as it is advantageous to the Nuclear Weapon Holding-Nations”! India is the only country that believes in strengthening its security in a world free of nuclear weapons… However, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has invited the South Asian nation to join the Organisation, and to attend its meetings as an Observer! In Vienna, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo recently said: “I’m not asking India to ratify (the treaty). I know that is not possible now… but, I think giving India the opportunity to join as an observer could be a good starting point.
Zerbo – a National of Burkina Faso, who obtained a PhD in Geophysics from the Université de Paris XI in 1993 – made the comment while talking to the Indian media at CTBTO office in the Austrian capital last week. The seasoned diplomat highlighted the open administrative environment inside the CTBTO that allowed the member-countries to exchange information regarding Nuclear Technology. The Executive Secretary further informed the Indian media persons about the recent changes in the Organisation, saying that it moved from being more confined in CTBT and International Monitoring System (IMS)…. “(This is) because we are making the data available to people, which is not traditional. This wasn’t possible at the beginning of the organisation. We had what was called the ‘task leader for data confidentiality’, which does not exist anymore,” insisted Zerbo.

Lassina Zerbo.jpg
Lassina Zerbo

According to the African diplomat, the CTBTO Youth Group was created in 2016 in order to encourage young talents to think how could we control the use of nuclear weapons, apart from getting associated with the positive developments of nuclear research. Zerbo recalled that the CTBTO had played an important role in setting up Tsunami Warning Centres after the tidal wave or the seismic sea wave triggered the deadliest Natural Disasters in Human History, with at least 230,000 people killed or missing in 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean in 2004! According to the CTBTO Executive Secretary, it has become easier to monitor the earthquakes with the help of radio-isotope nowadays… However, India has failed to get prior information about quakes because of its decision not to ratify the CTBT, claimed Zerbo.
The Observer status would give India access to data from the IMS – a network that will consist of 337 facilities (321 monitoring stations and 16 radio-nuclide labs) located in 89 countries, when completed. This system can easily detect even small nuclear explosions using seismology, hydro-acoustics, infra-sound and radio-nuclide technologies. “I think India will gain a lot with data that you don’t have access to now… it is clear to everyone that the IMS is the system that can provide this level of data… Nowhere can you get this quality of data necessary for earthquake monitoring, and following the radioisotope dispersion,” insisted Zerbo.


Meanwhile, China is playing an important administrative role in the CTBTO. Currently, China has five IMS centres, and Zerbo wants the Asian giant to continue playing a prominent role in this regard.
It may be noted that the two South Asian nations who refused to sign the CTBT are India and Pakistan!

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