Risking the hard-won forward movement in India-China relations, Chinese official media on Thursday attacked the Indo-US nuclear energy cooperation agreement insisting that the bilateral deal will inflict a 'hard blow' to global non-proliferation regime and trigger a domino effect.
"This would be a hard blow on America's leading role in the global proliferation prevention system as well as the system itself," the Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China said in an editorial against the Bush Administration for being soft on India and undercutting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"This will bring about a series of negative impacts," the leading Chinese political newspaper said.
"Now that the United States buys another country in with nuclear technologies in defiance of international treaty, other nuclear suppliers also have their own partners of interest as well as good reasons to copy what the United States did," it said.
"A domino effect of nuclear proliferation, once turned into reality, will definitely lead to global nuclear proliferation and competition," the paper warned.
"Always calling itself a 'guard' for nuclear proliferation prevention, the US often condemns other countries for irresponsible transfers but this time, it hesitates not a bit in revising laws, taking the lead in 'making an exception' (in the case of India), the editorial noted.
"Such an act of the United States once again proves that America is not at all a 'guard' of NPT and the treaty, however, is no more than a disguise serving the US interest," the daily said ahead of the visit by President George W Bush from November 19 to 21 to discuss Sino-US relations, marred by mutual suspicions.
The editorial was triggered by Washington's proposal to the meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group on October 20, demanding lifting of the ban on sales of nuclear technologies to India.
The Chinese criticism of the Indo-US nuclear pact is in stark contrast to the firm support for the Indo-US deal from Russia, France, Britain, and Canada, major nuclear technology.
Until now, the state-run Chinese media had only made factual reporting on the Indo-US nuclear deal. However, Beijing seems to have given the go-ahead to People's Daily to attack the Indo-US deal in view of the high-level visit by Bush, analysts said.
The editorial also pointed out that in fact, the most immediate reason for the foundation of NSG was India's first nuclear test in 1974, after which the United States instantly cut off its nuclear cooperation with India and established the NSG in 1975 to restrict selling sensitive nuclear technologies and raw materials to non-NPT countries.
"Over the past 30 years, the United States has always been trying to prevent India from access to nuclear technologies. Today, however, the United States wants a change," the editorial noted, questioning the rationale behind the move.