Washington: An influential US daily Monday advised the Indian government to resist pressures to test a nuclear weapon, and said it would be a huge setback for New Delhi`s relations with Washington and the battle against terrorists.
"Indian nuclear scientists are trying to bully their government into testing a nuclear weapon," the New York Times suggested in an editorial titled, "Just Say No."
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is resisting. He must continue to resist," it said as a nuclear test "would be a huge setback - for India`s relations with Washington, for the battle against terrorists, and for global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons."
"If India tests, the United States is bound by a 2008 agreement to cut off all sales of nuclear fuel and technology," the Times said. "That would be a huge setback to India`s plans to expand its nuclear power generation and its economy."
The daily feared that "if India tests, Pakistan will decide that it has to test. That would raise tensions between the two long-time rivals, and it would further distract Islamabad and its generals from the far more important battle against the Taliban and other extremists inside their country and along their border with Afghanistan."
The US daily wondered why K. Santhanam, a director for the 1998 test-site preparations, "waited 11 years to raise the alarm" and claim "those tests did not yield the desired results and were a `fizzle`."
"We suspect that Santhanam and his colleagues are worried that if Washington finally ratifies the (test ban) treaty, India may feel compelled to sign on," the Times surmised.
The United States too "should make clear that India has more to gain by focusing on economic growth and expanding global cooperation than on developing more nuclear weapons," it said.
"And it should leave no doubt about how much India and the rest of the world have to lose if New Delhi makes the wrong choice," the daily warned.