ZAHIR KAZMI On February 19, Mr Hamid Ali Rao, Indias disarmament ambassador to Geneva, said: Indias impeccable non-proliferation record is widely recognised. He urged the Pakistani delegation at the Conference of Disarmament (CD) to avoid bringing up extraneous issues designed to create obstacles and let the CD do serious and substantive work. Respectfully, disagreeing with and paraphrasing Shakespeares oft quoted lines: Everything is in a name, that which we call 'proliferation by any other name would not absolve the perpetrator. Mr Rao is partly right in saying that India has an impeccable non-proliferation record because the 'nuclear haves absolve it from the murky past due to their geo-economic and geo-political interests. For instance, though Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) came into being due to Indias proliferation record their official website soft pedals the historical fact in following words: The NSG was created following the explosion in 1974 of a nuclear device by a non-nuclear-weapon State, which demonstrated that nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused. What does the word 'misuse mean here? Pakistan is singing a solo aria at the CDs discussions on Fissile Materials Treaty (FMT) that others want to call Fissile Materials 'Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). Pakistan posits that India can make up to 100 nuclear warheads by utilising its indigenous uranium that became available after NSG provided it relief and opened its gates of uranium as part of Indo-US nuclear deal of 2006. India is not rich in uranium reserves, so the civilian nuclear agreement provides it a chance to consolidate its weapons programme since the military programme is not under IAEA safeguards. But of course Ambassador Munir Akrams contention at the CD is preposterous since India has no proven proliferation record of illegally diverting fissile material from civil to military programmes At stake is Pakistans growing imbalance in the nuclear deterrent that Pakistan developed to address the disparity in conventional forces with India. Delay in the conclusion of FMT will allow India to improve its highly fissile material stocks at the rate of 100 nuclear warheads a year. Some people will argue that Pakistan does not need to match its nuclear arsenal with India, as it has a policy of maintaining a minimum credible nuclear deterrent. If that is true, can someone explain why erstwhile Soviet Union and the US developed thousands of warheads in a tit for tat reaction during the Cold War and still have qualms over reduction in their arsenals? It is not possible that one adversary continues to give concessions and the other maintains a nonchalant stance. Pakistan will possibly continue to block the start of negotiations at the 65-member CD that wants to ban production of fissile material because that will put it at a permanent disadvantage to India. In fact, reducing the number of weapons or doing away with them altogether does not address the reason of animosity between adversaries. The problem persists till the bull is not held by its horns. The source of Pakistans insecurities lies in the delay in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and violation of the Indus Basin Treaty. Till that happens we will continue to move in circles without making substantial gains. The writer is a scholar at the Strategic and Nuclear Studies Department, National Defence University.OSETEXTEXPORT___GETFILTERVER