New Delhi, May 12: Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said that landmark decision of the country to declare itself a nuclear weapon state has strengthened the nation.
"The country's landmark decision to become a nuclear weapon state has given strength to the nation. The confidence in the country has increased the spirit that we can do it. India has always risen to the occasion when we have constraints. The technology sanctions for 1998 has not deterred our progress, but has strengthened the mind of every Indian to become self-reliant in critical technology," said Kalam. Kalam said this after giving away national awards on the occasion of "Technology Day" here on Sunday.
The Atal Behari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government staged the blasts in the north-western desert range of Pokhran on May 11 and May 13 in 1998 and decided to observe May 11 as "Technology Day".
Following the tests, India declared itself a nuclear-weapon state.
Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal denied any politics in the low-key anniversary celebrations.
"You should not reduce national achievement, the credit of which goes to the scientific community in the country, reduce that to petty politics. We expect leaders of this country to be responsible and make statements, which do not hurt the sentiments of the people. We are all proud of scientific community," he said.
The 1998 nuclear tests prompted matching explosions from Pakistan within a matter of days.