Manmohan Singh backs success of Pokhran II tests

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Barmer (Rajasthan), Aug.29 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said that a needless controversy had been created over the Pokhran II nuclear tests that took place in May 1998.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to inaugurate a terminal for the supply of crude oil at Cairn India's Mangala oilfield in Barmer, Dr. Singh said: "Kalam (former scientific adviser to the Defence Minister Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) has already clarified that the tests were successful. A needless controversy has been created over the Pokhran tests."

The Prime Minister's comment came after former DRDO scientist Dr. K. Santhanam had controversially revealed that the Pokhran II tests were not entirely successful.

Santhanam said: "The Science and Technology Community as a whole wanted to have some more tests,...but conducting a nuclear test is a highly political decision, and no matter the wish of scientific community may be, the political leadership of the country will have its say."

Santhanam also clarified that he had at no stage said the tests were a complete failure.

"I didn''''''''''''''''t say it was a failure but partially successful," Santhanam added.

He also said that in the reports given to the government, the scientists had mentioned the outcome of their experiments.

"The scientific community placed its reports about the out come of the tests. They are highly classified and the political leadership of the country is aware about that," he said.

Maintaining his stand to go for more tests before signing CTBT or NPT Santhanam said, "Many people in the administration knew that India is in need of another test."

"The energy released after the blast were measured and the energy release was much lower than what was expected by the designers. It was not a surprise to me," Santhanam recalled.

India tested five nuclear devices including two-sub kilo category of thermo nuclear devices code named "Operation Shakti," on May 11 and 13, 1998 at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

Countering Santhanam''''''''''''''''s views, former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra said: "When they (scientists) said about the success of the tests in 1998, May 11 and 13, we asked whether they want to go for another test, but they (scientists) said No, and were satisfied by the tests."

"It was very clear that based on their report only, we have announced it to the world. We have not lied to any one," Mishra said adding it was only then that plans developed to discuss civil nuclear co-operation with the United States.

" In the entire scientific history, no country has gained 100 percent success in its first test of thermo nuclear device...if we get a chance, India should go for another test, especially of a thermonuclear device." Santhanam said.

He, however, cautioned the country''''''''''''''''s political leadership against signing either Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) or Non - Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NPT is a highly discriminative treaty and divides the whole world into a nuclear haves and have nots, "Santhanam claimed.

Santhanam said the new Indo- US nuclear deal does not come in the way of going for more tests.

"There is one clause in the Indo- US nuclear deal that if the security scenario around the country changes, then we can go for a test, and the country''''''''''''''''s leadership should take a decision to go for a test taking confidence of all the factors involved," Santhanam said.

Former President Dr. Kalam had also rejected senior Santhanam's claims that the Pokhran II nuclear tests held in the month of May 1998 were partially successful.

Dr. Kalam said the tests were successful and that a thorough review of these tests had been taken with Dr. K. Santhanam present. (ANI)

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