Beijing Unfazed by India's Blasts

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BEIJING: Despite being the supposed “target” of India’s nuclear escalation, Beijing appears unfazed by its neighbor’s test blasts. While condemning the tests and New Delhi’s "Chinese menace" rhetoric, Chinese leaders believe India’s blasts were designed for domestic consumption and to boost India’s international status, reports TIME Beijing bureau chief Jaime Florcruz. Washington is hoping Beijing will help restrain Pakistan from testing a weapon of its own, says Florcruz. “China has an interest in calming things down,” adds TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. “It doesn’t want nuclear conflict on its border.”

India, meanwhile, despite facing international sanctions and protest, is already reaping some diplomatic benefit from its tests, says Dowell. Although unlikely to achieve the coveted permanent-member status at the U.N., India is now finding itself invited into discussions on disarmament and nonproliferation at a level from which it had previously been excluded. “In that sense,” says Dowell. “India’s nuke-testing strategy has already succeeded.”