There is little hope for the Pakistan-India arms race to die down in the foreseeable future, as is evidenced on this side by the Prime Minister inaugurating the expansion of the brass (used for making bullets and cannon shells) mill at the Pakistan Ordnance Factory in Wah on Monday. Pakistan now has the largest brass mill in Asia, but that – while a symbol of pride – is of almost no consequence in real terms as India has at least 42 ordnance factories where Pakistan has 14.

Pakistan’s quest for parity and India’s attempt at supremacy have all but ensured that a large part of the yearly budgets of both countries will be devoted towards defence production, forgoing other, more development-oriented priorities. The eastern neighbour is not far behind in its own defence dealings; the country has signed arms deals worth roughly 200 billion Indian rupees in just the past few months. Uri was used as a catalyst (or excuse), and the focus this time, was not on modernising but ensuring the service and availability of weapons for the Indian army – a quantitative measure. It is clear that the arms race was never paused, and nor is it like to be, if the events of the recent past are anything to go by.

Conventional weapons aside, it seems almost impossible to get either country to adhere to, let alone sign the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FCMT) – even though Pakistan is willing on entering into discussions on the treaty – given that both have even repeatedly refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India has called it discriminatory – but is perfectly happy to ensure that the same sort of discriminatory standards are applied to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership – while Pakistan cannot sign a treaty that will enable India to arm itself while Pakistan can do nothing to compete.

While an arms race is not ideal in the least, strategic interest must be looked after, and the only way for Pakistan to reduce its stockpile or allow greater scrutiny is by making India do the same. Asking for greater regulation and monitoring by the IAEA on India is the right move, and perhaps forcing the international community to take notice of the arms race in its entirety – instead of merely focusing on Pakistan – would be instrumental in moving towards a cessation in arms build-up, both conventional and nuclear.