THE news about India acquiring ever more sophisticated weapons should not surprise any subcontinent watcher nor, for that matter, there is anything new in its defence ties with Israel. India is a country with unquestioned aggressive intent, desperately trying to exercise its hegemony in the region. And now at US bidding and active help, it is readying itself to serve as a bulwark against China. To realise these objectives, it has made ambitious plans of spending $100 billion on buying state-of-the-art military equipment in the coming years. Perhaps, the latest deal it has struck is with the Jewish state for the purchase of an upgraded tactical air defence system called Barak-8 at a cost of $1.1 billion. Barak-8, whose earlier version India already has in its arsenal, is designed to operate aboard a ship as well as on land. It is capable of shooting down missiles, planes and drones. It would be idle to go on listing the wide array of military hardware that our eastern neighbour is eager to acquire; it intends making its land, air and naval forces among the best equipped in the world, furnishing it with fighter jets (Sukhois and other makes), 155mm howitzers, long-range reconnaissance aircraft, hi-tech helicopters and nuclear-powered submarines. The dangers for Pakistan are quite obvious. As we view this arms build-up alongside Indias imperious attitude of refusing to settle disputes such as Kashmir that have been at the root of enmity and tension between the two countries, it is difficult to buy the argument that it has reconciled itself to the existence of Pakistan. It is strange that on the one hand, it wants to impose its own solutions of bilateral problems in utter disregard of the demands of justice and its own commitments; and, on the other, its friends - the Americans and their allies - keep tendering untenable counsel to us that India poses no threat to us. Pakistans military strategists would have to be on their guard. Indias arms acquisition spree is a direct invitation to us to enter into an arms race. We must ensure that all legitimate needs of the army in conventional weapons are met and the country has minimum deterrence. The menacing scenario makes it all the more compelling for us to further firm up the security and safety of our nuclear assets against any possible inroads from an outside agency. The US-Indian nuclear deal would ultimately go to strengthen Indias weapons system through the access it would have to latest technology and equipment. Pakistan cannot afford to be taken in to lower its guard. It is good that Pakistan has categorically denied the Hersh story about US access to its nuclear arsenal. We cannot allow any outside power, howsoever friendly it might be or pose to be, any such liberty.