Skip to main content

Remembering Pokharan-II: India's N-dream

On May 11, 10 years ago, India declared itself as a nuclear nation state. Five nuclear explosions were carried out on May 11 and 13 in 1998 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Sunday is the 10th anniversary of Pokhran II but it will be a quiet affair, as no official celebrations have been planned to commemorate the event.

The tests at Pokhran stunned the world but gave India's nuclear scientists the data they needed to validate the designs of India's nuclear weapons and warheads, which would be mated to missiles like the Agni and the Prithvi or bombs which could be carried on fighter jets such as the Mirage 2000.

There were five nuclear devices that were tested deep inside the sands of Pokharan - a hydrogen bomb, an advanced atom bomb and three small tactical nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who ordered the tests within days of his government coming to power, did not hesitate to declare India as a 'nuclear weapons state'.

The international reaction was swift. America slapped sanctions on India but in the long run, they would have only a minor impact on the economy.

Over the years, the reality of India having reached a new nuclear threshold was a fact America chose to embrace. And a country, which was seen by some as an adversary in the past ultimately, became a close strategic ally - an ally close enough to consider sharing the state of the art in civilian nuclear technology.

From Pokhran to the possibility of the Indo-US nuclear deal, India has clearly made the leap from being a fledgling nuclear power to a mature nuclear state looking to balance its strategic needs with the enormous energy requirements of a billion people.


Popular posts from this blog

LCA's Naval version prepares to roll out

India's first indigenous Naval Light Combat Aircraft, the LCA (Navy) NP1 is scheduled to roll out from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) design hangar on July 6.The Defence Ministry has said that the aircraft will be an important milestone for the prestigious Naval Program of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore.The Chief of The Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma would be the Chief Guest at the function.'Roll-Out' is a significant milestone when the aircraft is brought out of the build hangar, where the aircraft is actually assembled part by part, ready for the phase of systems integration tests leading to Ground runs, taxi trials and flight.Once the ground based tests are completed, the NP1 is expected to fly by the end of this year and the NP2 is likely to fly by the end of 2011.The aircraft, with state of the art technologies and punch, is designed to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy…

Intercontinental ballistic missiles well within reach

Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) is the deceptively bland name that obscures from public view the Defence Research & Development  Organisation’s (DRDO’s) most glamorous laboratory. At the DRDO missile complex here in Hyderabad, ASL develops the ballistic missiles that, in the ultimate nuclear nightmare, will carry Indian nuclear weapons to targets — thousands of kilometres away. Foreign collaboration is seeping into many areas of R&D, but ASL’s technological domain — the realm of strategic ballistic missiles — is something that no country parts with, for love or for money. No foreigner would ever set foot in ASL.
But Business Standard has been allowed an exclusive visit. The erudite, soft-spoken director of ASL, Dr V G Sekharan, describes the technologies that were developed for the DRDO’s new, 5,000-kilometre range Agni-5 missile, which was tested flawlessly in April. He reveals nothing except restraint stood between India and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that…

GSLV Mark III with crew module launched successfully

India successfully launched its biggest ever rocket on Thursday, including an unmanned capsule which could one day send astronauts into space, the latest accomplishment of its ramped-up space programme.
The rocket, designed to carry heavier communication and other satellites into higher orbit, blasted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
On Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the test mission as "yet another triumph of (the) brilliance and hard work of our scientists."
"This was a very significant day in the history of (the) Indian space programme," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman KS Radhakrishnan said from mission control as fellow scientists clapped and cheered.
ISRO scientists have been riding high since an Indian spacecraft successfully reached Mars in September on a shoe-string budget, winning Asia's race to the Red Planet and sparking an outpouring of national pride.
Although India has successfully launched lighter satellit…