Pakistan wants regime on missiles included in the agenda for disarmament meet. This Pakistani proposal is seen as new tactic to delay talks on treaty. Informal consultations have been held in the past week to convince Pakistan to back off from this stand.

Pakistan is coming under international pressure to drop its demand that the regional control of conventional arms and a regime on missiles be included in the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament’s session this year.

The Conference on Disarmament usually adopts a standard agenda at the start of each session, reflecting the underlying consensus built up over the past few years.

That consensus includes a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, prevention of arms race in outer space, security assurances, transparency in armaments, comprehensive disarmament, and preventing new nuclear weapons and nuclear war.

But at the opening 2010 plenary on January 19, Pakistan’s Ambassador Zamir Akram said the approval of the agenda should not be seen as “a mere formality.” Citing a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the Conference on Disarmament to discuss regional arms control - passed last October with only India casting a negative vote and Russia and Bhutan abstaining - Mr. Akram said this and missiles were “pressing problems” for the international community.

The Pakistani proposal is seen by many delegations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva as a new tactic in Islamabad’s efforts to delay the start of international negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material.

At the conference, the Indian delegation joined others in objecting to an expanded agenda. Reminding the conference that India objected to the U.N. resolution because “the security concerns of states often extend beyond narrowly defined regions. The delegation said it did not consider “missiles in all its aspects” to be a subject the conference could easily deal with. India said there was no global legal regime governing missiles. “But this is an issue that could be considered if there is an agreement on how it could be dealt with in the CD. However, at present, there is no agreement. The relevant resolutions have been fractured. We leave it in the hands of the president to see how they move forward. India would be happy to make a contribution.”

Indian officials said informal consultations were under way in the past week to convince Pakistan to back off and a fresh effort will be made on January 26 to adopt the agenda.

Adoption of the standing agenda, however, will not mean the start of actual negotiations on an FMCT, as Pakistan is not expected to drop its objections to the conference’s programme of work.

After many years of stalemate, the conference came close to a consensus last year on the launching of negotiations for the treaty. But Pakistan, which believes it is at a disadvantage vis-À-vis India as far as bomb grade uranium and plutonium stocks are concerned, says any fissile treaty should not just ban new production but should also address “regional imbalances” in stockpiles, and insists talks cannot begin unless there is agreement on this issue.

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