Though global support for the CTBT is widespread, formal entry into force requires that a specific group of 44 states named in Annex II of the treaty have ratified.
U.S. ratification of the CTBT is essential—but not sufficient—to win the support of the other remaining Annex II states needed for the treaty’s formal entry into force: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan.
China, which has already signed the CTBT, will also likely ratify if the United States does.
The prospect of U.S. ratification of the CTBT has already begun to spur new thinking in India. In an August 30, 2009 interview in The Hindu, India’s then-National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan said: “As of now, we are steadfast in our commitment to the moratorium. At least there is no debate in the internal circles about this.” Asked if India would have no problem signing the treaty if the others whose ratification is required for the CTBT to enter into force — especially the U.S. and China — did so, Mr. Narayanan responded: “I think we need to now have a full-fledged discussion on the CTBT. We’ll cross that hurdle when we come to it.”
Global support for early entry into force of the CTBT is strong. On September 24, 2009, representatives from more than 100 states, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a large number of other Foreign Ministers gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York and reaffirmed their support for action to achieve the entry into force of the CTBT.
Clinton reaffirmed the Obama administration's commitment to "work with the Senate to ratfy the CTBT" and called on other key states to ratify the treaty. "As long as we are confronted with the prospect of nuclear testing by others, we will face the potential threat of newer, more powerful, and more sophisticated weapons that could cause damage beyond our imagination," she said.
U.S. ratification of the CTBT would also reinforce the taboo against testing and increase the costs for any state that might consider doing so. While it might be possible to sustain the voluntary moratoria undertaken by the nuclear testing states for some years, the risk of a resumption of testing other nuclear weapons armed states will only grow over time. Also, concerns about clandestine nuclear testing might arise that could not be resolved in the absence of inspections provided for under the treaty. Failure to ratify the CTBT would increase uncertainty and weaken U.S. security.