It is refreshing that Pakistan has once again articulated its just stance on fissile material management at the United Nations. Since the utopian slogan of 'Global Zero by President Barack Obama, the cartel of major stockholders of fissile materials led by America, has been pursuing a concerted campaign to bulldoze a Pakistan-specific Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). Last week, Islamabad aptly told the UN General Assemblys first Disarmament and International Security Committee: Clearly it is not through choice, but necessity that Pakistan is opposed to negotiations on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, as no country can be expected to compromise on its fundamental security interests. Pakistan wants the international community to approach the issue of fissile material via nuclear disarmament. When effective disarmament regimes are in place, there would be no incentive or temptation for producing the fissile material. Banning the production of fissile material without first capping its weapon-related applications would only encourage clandestine production, thus feeding the black market. Americas emphasis on the early adoption of controversial FMCT, in isolation, is quite illogical. This amounts to treating the symptoms, while ignoring the root causes. America through its Agreement 123 with India has changed the strategic environment of the South Asian region. In its follow-up, nearly a dozen other States have also embarked upon an unfettered and discriminatory nuclear cooperation arrangements with India in gross violation of their international commitments. They have no moral authority in calling for strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime when they are themselves responsible for undermining it..This has accentuated our security concerns as such nuclear cooperation shall further widen the asymmetry in stockpiles in our region, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan told the Committee. Line-by-line comparison of the USAs Agreement 123 with India and the UAE, brings forth the ideological bias of Washingtons nuclear cooperation policy. Floodgates have been opened for piling up mounds of fissile material by India, which is a non-signatory to NPT, and has flouted a number of international obligations on nuclear matters. On the other hand, an NPT pliant State, the UAE, has been deprived of all options of research and development in the field of nuclear sciences. Since the introduction of the treaty into the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Pakistan has been pointing out that a treaty to cut off future production of fissile material will freeze the existing asymmetries in its stockpiles, which will be detrimental to its national security. India is developing a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD). Recently, America has also indicated its willingness to help India in setting up such systems. An effective BMD would warrant that Pakistan should have around three times its existing warheads to maintain its posture of minimum credible deterrence. 'Survival Instinct has been the main driver of Pakistans nuclear capability. Nuclear threat became a reality for Pakistan after Indias first nuclear test in 1974. Pakistans principle worry is its disparity with the Indian stockpile of fissile material that threatens the strategic stability in the region. It is keen to debate across-the-board nuclear disarmament on a non-discriminatory basis at the CD forum. Earlier this year, during the conferences plenary session, Pakistan had cautioned the world community in categorical terms that the growing international support for Indias nuclear programme would destabilise the region and force Pakistan to augment its deterrence. Pakistans Ambassador Zamir Akram had sharply criticised the moves to bring India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other bodies that allow trade in nuclear materials. It is interesting to recall that the NSG was created in 1975 to standardise nuclear trade rules, as a reaction to Indias testing of a nuclear explosive device in 1974. To carry out that explosion, India had clandestinely diverted plutonium from a power reactor provided to it by Canada; a reality that Canada chose to ignore, while signing a recent instrument of nuclear cooperation with India. Akram had aptly pointed out: Apart from undermining the validity and sanctity of the international non-proliferation regime, these measures shall further destabilise security in South Asia.As a consequence, Pakistan will be forced to take measures to ensure the credibility of its deterrence. The cumulative impact would be to destabilise the security environment in South Asia and beyond. At this time, only Pakistan, India and, probably, North Korea and Israel, produce fissile material for weapons. The major nuclear powers, after having accumulated thousands of weapons, have declared unilateral moratoriums on its production. Likewise, the issue of fissile material is not very significant to any non-nuclear weapon State that is party to the NPT, because these States have already abdicated their right to pursue nuclear programmes for military purposes. An agreement on fissile material management is held hostage to intricately intertwined Indian policies of nuclear security and power generation. It has piled up over 1,600 tons of reactor grade fissile material churned out by its nuclear power reactors over the previous years. Reactor grade plutonium was used in one of the Indian nuclear explosions of 1998. The current impasse on FMCT emanates from the most unlikely cause, which is Indias nuclear energy policy, rather than its nuclear security policy. To understand the real significance of the FMCT for Pakistan, one needs to dig deeper into Indias nuclear energy programme. Pakistans principal worry is its accumulation of reactor grade plutonium for its fast breeder reactors (FBRs). FBRs form the backbone of Indias grand plans for nuclear energy. Their number would increase five times by 2020 and more than 60 times by 2050. Its ambitious plan for the reactor technology has serious implications for the nuclear stability in the region. Therefore, it has refused to accept any safeguards on its FBR programme. Pakistan looks toward a global disarmament regime, which should be legally binding, internationally verifiable and universally acceptable. Hence, Islamabad is insisting that Pakistans security interests be accommodated in a binding treaty. Arms control efforts over the decades have conformed to such flexibility. Whenever hardcore calculations of security are involved, nations have to be engaged to forge agreements; they must be neither isolated, nor coerced. There is a need to proceed on disarmament matters in a wholesome manner so that its work is on equal pace on all interlocked agenda issues like the disarmament of outer space, negative assurances, abolishing of missile defence shields, conventional arms race and fissile material management, etc. Pakistans National Command Authority has done an admirable job by formulating a visionary stance on the issue. Likewise, the Foreign Office has undertaken a commendable campaign in winning support among the G-21 - a group of like-minded States within the CD. America led cartels bluff has been called; it has failed to move the treaty negotiations outside the conference. The US is fearful that in case the treatys negotiations are moved to an alternative venue, it could lose whatever leverage it presently has. Hopefully, the worst is behind Pakistan, at least for the time being. Islamabad should continue to consolidate its support for the worst case scenario; the final battle may be fought at the UNs first committee. Pakistan should maintain close liaison with the OIC and NAM for their support on the issue. It is time to urge the countries hiding behind Pakistans negative vote at the CD to come clean on the issue and start voting beside it. The writer is a retired Air Commodore and former assistant chief of air staff of the Pakistan Air Force. At present, he is a member of the visiting faculty at the PAF Air War College, Naval War College and Quaid-i-Azam University.