BEIJING, April 27 (IANS): India is "likely to resume its nuclear tests", a commentary in the online edition of China's state-run People's Daily said Wednesday, asking China and other countries to be vigilant.
The comment piece by Li Hongmei said only North Korea and Iran were cast negatively in the international nuclear discourse.
"But the fact is that behind the scene there exists a super antagonist in the US-produced nuclear soap opera, and it is India," said Li, an editor and a columnist of People's Daily online.
The online edition is run by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.
India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974.
"The reason why India refused to sign the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is that it disagreed with the fact that only five large countries of the world use the NPT to monopolize the right for possessing nuclear arms," Li said in the article, "Possible, India resumes nuclear test?"
It said: "India has long been desperately trying to step over the (nuclear) threshold, and gain the international recognition of being a nuclear power.
"In the conditioning of India, equipped with nuclear weapons, it would boost confidence in dealing with Pakistan and pluck up courage to counteract China whom it has long taken as `a slumbering threat' at its bedside."
The article pointed out that "India has never dropped its dream to overtake China, growing up to be a leading regional, and global power, now that it has self-measured to be the world's No.3 military power".
Recalling that India stunned the world after it conducted nuclear tests in the Rajasthan desert in 1998, it said: "...the lid of India's nuclear issue has since lifted open".
Describing the tests as a showcase of India's national strength, the article said Pakistan responded with its own nuclear tests, dramatically raising "the stakes in the stand-off over Kashmir.
"...it is still a moot point whether India lost more than it gained by going nuclear."
"Increasingly, it appears that by self-claiming to have joined the nuclear club, India has forced the world to take it seriously. But the 1998's `large step forward' to go nuclear has yet to make India feel more secure.
"Instead, the desperate move has indeed incurred the higher risk of being attacked upon India, and its national security would accordingly be downgraded."
It, however, said that the international situation now seemed to favour India, saying the unrest in the Arab world was taking attention away from the Indian subcontinent.
"And perhaps, once the Middle East situation further exacerbates, the US would risk helping India become a nuclear-weapon state.
Considering this, India is likely to resume its nuclear tests. For this, China and all the neighbours should sharpen their vigilance on India's every manoeuvre."