India continued to play hard to get at the just concluded Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. Its stance that the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) does not impress upon the nuclear powers to work firmly towards nuclear disarmament and at the same time seeks the rest of the world's agreement not to go in for nuclear tests, has met with isolation.

But this has not deterred India's ambassador to the United Nations (UN) from declaring that "Our opposition to that text (CTBT) continues. We would not, therefore, agree to it being forwarded to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in any form by this Conference on Disarmament."

While the intention of the 61-nation Conference was to send the actual treaty, arrived at by consensus, to the UNGA before the body formally meets in September, India's refusal to accept the CTBT text could well mean that the negotiations may have to start afresh.However, supporters of the treaty, which include the five nuclear powers, hope to table it at the UNGA despite India's veto.

According to the US disarmament ambassador, Stephen Ledogar, "We are now consulting the rest of us, as to how, despite this most regrettable development in the CD, we can get this text to New York for further action."

Meanwhile, China's two demands of physical inspection of nuclear sites and a review of peaceful nuclear explosion after 10 years of the treaty were met, paving the way for it to accept the text. Pakistan too modified its stance: while it earlier held that it would not sign until India approves the treaty, it now stated that it will withdraw from CTBT only if a third country conducts a nuclear test and that its national security was more important than its neighbour's action.

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