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Two decades of Pokhran-2 nuclear test

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    Today marks two decades of Pokhran-2 nuclear test a landmark day in modern Indian history. On this date in 1998, India conducted series of 5 nuclear explosions, the 2nd nuclear test after Smiling Buddha in 1974. The nuclear test called 'Operation Shakti' was carried out with 1 fusion bomb and 4 fission bombs.

    On May 11-13, 1998, India conducted five underground nuclear tests at Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. Nation dedicates this National Technology Day to our scientists, technicians, and leadership who made India a nuclear weapon state.

    Eventually, India became a nuclear weapon state. The Indian government has officially declared the 11 May as National Technology Day in India to commemorate the first of the five nuclear tests that were carried out on 11 May 1998. It was officially signed by then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 and the day is celebrated by giving awards to various individuals and industries in the field of science and technology.

    Cylindrical shaped nuclear bomb

    Cylindrical shaped nuclear bomb

    A cylindrical shaped nuclear bomb, Shakti I, prior to its detonation. Since 1995, the 58th Engineer Regiment had learned to avoid satellite detection. Work was mostly done during night, and equipment was returned to the original place to give the impression that it was never moved.

    Impact of the test

    Impact of the test

    Crater after the underground nuclear test on May 11 1998 at Pokhran test range.

    Team of scientists

    Team of scientists

    Under the leadership of Former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (then DRDO Chief), Dr. R Chidambaram (then Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission), the team of more than 100 scientists, technicians and soldiers successfully conducted five underground nuclear tests.

    Scientists in Army uniform

    Scientists in Army uniform

    All scientists were required to wear army uniforms to preserve the secrecy of the tests. Scientists would not depart for Pokhran in groups of two or three. They travelled to destination other than Pokhran under pseudonyms, and were then transported by the army. Technical staff at the test range wore military uniform, to prevent detection in satellite images.

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