India's Singh Says U.S. CTBT Ratification Will Create "New Situation"

Indian newspaper The Hindu reported today that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated for the first time during his current administration that India may be amenable to signing onto the CTBT, once the United States and China ratify. Singh was probed by his Japanese counterpart, Yuki Hatoyama, during a meeting regarding nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries.

Mr. Hatoyama, told reporters that he had emphasized Japan's desire for New Delhi to sign and ratify the treaty, remarking that, "Globally there is a rising momentum of [the CTBT] entering into force. I expressed my hope that along with China and the USA, India will sign and ratify CTBT...Prime Minister [Singh] said with regard to the CTBT [that] should the U.S. and China sign, it will create a new situation."

The comment indicates continued momentum toward renewed Indian consideration of the test ban. In August 2009, Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan told The Hindu that, "I think we need to now have a full-fledged discussion on the CTBT. We'll cross that hurdle when we come to it.

Singh's suggestion also underscores the international importance and impact of U.S. ratification. India's indicated flexibility toward the CTBT -- conditional on U.S. ratification -- is part of several Annex 2 countries, including China and Indonesia, who have suggested that U.S. ratification will be instrumental in renewed momentum toward treaty entry into force, and further reinforcing the taboo against testing.