India possesses nuclear deterrence, Pokhran II tests were successful: Navy Chief(Lead: Navy)

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New Delhi, Aug.27 (ANI): Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is due to retire on August 31, today said that the Pokhran nuclear tests conducted in 1998 were successful, and dismissed claims made by senior DRDO scientist K Santhanam to the contrary.

The Navy Chief said that India maintains a credible nuclear deterrence and "we follow no first strike capability."

Admiral Mehta came out strongly against DRDO scientist Santhanam's assertions on the country's nuclear might that would have the world believe that India's nuke tests in 1998 were not successful.

Admiral Mehta, however, asserted that India had the capability to stand tall as a member of the nuke club. He added that scientists had given India credible nuclear deterrence.

Santhanam, who was director for 1998 test site preparations, has claimed that the yield for the thermonuclear test or hydrogen bomb in popular usage was much lower than what was claimed. As per him the yield of Pokharan II tests can only be classified as a "fizzle" rather than big bang.

"The tests were adequate. We believe whatever the scientists tell us. The scientists said the tests were enough and tested. We believe the scientists, as they provide us with nuclear capability," Admiral Mehta said while reacting to the revelation made by the top nuclear scientist.

Admiral Mehta statement came while he was addressing his farewell press conference in the capital this afternoon.

Admiral Mehta's statement came even as the Defence Ministry and former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra too dismissed Santhanam's statement by asserting that India has a "meaningful" number of nuclear weapons and an effective delivery system to go with it.

The test was said to have yielded 45 kilotons (KT), but was challenged by western experts who said it was not more than 20 KT.

India conducted five nuclear tests at the Pokhran test range, three of which were conducted on May 11 and two on May 13, 1998.

Rajagopala Chidambaram headed the team, which conducted tests, and the Device was developed at the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO's Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory. (ANI)

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