Pokhran-II

Pokhran-II

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Pokharan-II refers to test explosions of five nuclear devices, three on 11 May and two on 13 May 1998, conducted by India at the Pokhran
Pokhran
Pokhran is a city and a municipality located in Jaisalmer district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is a remote location in the Thar Desert region and served as the test site for India's first underground nuclear weapon detonation.-Geography:Pokhran http://marupradesh.org/ located at...

 test range. These nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172, adopted unanimously on June 6, 1998, after hearing of nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998, the Council condemned the tests and demanded that both countries refrain from engaging in further tests.-Resolution:The Security Council...

 against India by a number of major states.

On 18 May 1974, India exploded its first nuclear device code named Operation Smiling Buddha
Smiling Buddha
The Smiling Buddha, formally designated as Pokhran-I, was the codename given to Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974 at 8:05 a.m....

. After about a quarter century, on Buddha Jayanti, 11 May 1998, Operation Shakti was carried out. Shakti
Shakti
Shakti from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes...

 (शक्ति in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 meaning 'Strength'), is also the name of the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Goddess of strength. Shakti was the codename of a thermonuclear device that was exploded in Pokhran as part of Pokhran-II.

Birth of India's nuclear weapons program


The Indian nuclear programme dated back to 1944 when Homi Bhabha established the Institute of Fundamental Research
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research is a research institution in India dedicated to basic research in mathematics and the sciences. It is a Deemed University and works under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India. It is located at Navy Nagar, Colaba, Mumbai...

 in 1945. Under the long premiership of Nehru, the nuclear programme's infrastructure was carefully established, and much of the weapon related facilities given commissioned in 1950s, most notably Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is India's primary nuclear research facility based in Mumbai. It has a number of nuclear reactors, all of which are used for India's nuclear power and research programme.- History :...

 that operates the CIRUS
CIRUS reactor
CIRUS is a research reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Trombay near Mumbai, India. CIRUS was supplied by Canada in 1954, but uses heavy water supplied by the United States. It is the second oldest reactor in India. It is modeled on the Canadian Chalk River National Research...

 which was commissioned in 1960.

In 1962, India faced the bitter war
Sino-Indian War
The Sino-Indian War , also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict , was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan...

 with People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and lost the territory it had controlled previously. Soon, the Chinese nuclear test, 596
596 (nuclear test)
596 is the codename of the People's Republic of China's first nuclear weapons test, detonated on October 16, 1964 at the Lop Nur test site. It was a uranium-235 implosion fission device and had a yield of 22 kilotons...

 in 1964 accelerated India's nuclear weapon efforts to counter the Chinese nuclear blackmailing. Preliminary studies were carried out at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is India's primary nuclear research facility based in Mumbai. It has a number of nuclear reactors, all of which are used for India's nuclear power and research programme.- History :...

 and plans were developed to produce plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

 and other bomb components. Following the death of Nehru and Bhabha, the programme was revived and transferred into the hands of Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was an Indian physicist. He is considered to be the father of the Indian space program; legendary Homi Bhabha’s successor as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission; and was as at home in the world of the arts as in his favourite laboratory. His interests were vast and...

 who also was the director of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). However, under the premiership of Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.-Early life:...

 who faced the war
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

 with West-Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 (now Pakistan) had the nuclear programme shelved and halted. This programme was again revived and re-started under the premiership of Indira Gandhi who gave the authorization soon after the Test No. 6— China's successful detonation of thermonuclear device. The programme was delegated to Raja Ramanna
Raja Ramanna
Raja Ramanna , D.Phil., was an Indian nuclear scientist and a prominent physicist, is best known for his leadership directing the research integral for the development of Indian nuclear programme in its early stages. Having started and joined the nuclear programme in 1964, Ramanna worked under...

 who aggressively developed the nuclear weapons and the nuclear programme completed a milestone in 1972. In 1974, Indira Gandhi gave authorization of the nuclear test, codename Smiling Buddha
Smiling Buddha
The Smiling Buddha, formally designated as Pokhran-I, was the codename given to Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974 at 8:05 a.m....

.

After the 1974 test, Premier Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai was an Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977–79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress...

 shelved the programme and focused it to more academic research rather than military initiatives. By 1977, Ramannad was replaced by Sethna as the director of BARC and unsuccessfully attempted to thwarted Ramanna's efforts. In 1980, Indira Gandhi returned as the Premier and re-evaluated the programme by bringing back Ramanna's role in the nuclear programme. Despite Gandhi's denial to conduct further tests, the nuclear programme continued to advance. It was the 1980s that the work on hydrogen bombs and the missile programme was initiated, and dr. Abdul Kalam, an aerospace engineer who developed the SLV programme
Satellite Launch Vehicle
The Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle or SLV was a project started in the early 1970s by Indian Space Research Organisation to develop the technology needed to launch satellites. The project was headed by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. SLV was intended to reach a height of 400 km and carry a payload of...

 for ISRO, was made the director of the missile programme.

Successive governments in India decided to observe this temporary moratorium for fear of inviting international criticism. In 1995, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao decided to carry out further tests. But the plans were halted after American satellites picked up signs of preparations for testing at Pokhran. The Americans under President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 exerted enormous pressure on Rao to stop the preparations. On February 28, the BJP
Bharatiya Janata Party
The Bharatiya Janata Party ,; translation: Indian People's Party) is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Indian National Congress. Established in 1980, it is India's second largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament...

 came to power after wining the 1998 elections
Indian general election, 1998
General elections were held in India in 1998, after the government elected in 1996 collapsed and the 12th Lok Sabha was convened. New elections were called when Indian National Congress left the United Front government led by I.K...

, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who served as the tenth Prime Minister of India three times – first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004. After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from...

 became country's prime minister who had previously campaign on advocating for nuclear tests. On March 1998, Vajpayee administration
Premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was twice premier of India, first from 16 May to 1 June 1996, and then from 19 March 1998 to 22 May 2004. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party , Vaypayee served as the eleventh Prime Minister of India...

 asked the scientists to make preparations in a shortest time possible, and preparations were hastily made. Finally, on 11 and 13 May 1998, under prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who served as the tenth Prime Minister of India three times – first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004. After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from...

, India conducted its second group of nuclear tests.

Preparations for the test


After the detection of the test preparations by American satellites in 1995, it was decided that preparations for the May 1998 tests should be undertaken under a blanket of secrecy so that foreign countries will not be able to detect the preparations. Extensive planning was drawn out and executed in order to deceive intelligence agencies around the world. Even the senior most cabinet members of the Government of India did not have slightest hint of these elaborate preparations. The preparations were managed by a closed group of scientists, military officers and politicians.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister, and Dr. R. Chidambaram, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy, were the chief coordinators for the operation. They were assisted by the 58th Regiment of the Army Engineering Corps in preparing the test site. Scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is India's primary nuclear research facility based in Mumbai. It has a number of nuclear reactors, all of which are used for India's nuclear power and research programme.- History :...

 (BARC) and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) were involved in assembling the weapons, moving them to Pokhran, placing them into shafts in the ground and laying a network of sensors to gather data during the explosions.

The Regiment 58 Engineers had learned much since the aborted 1995 test preparations about avoiding detection by American satellites. Much work was done at night, and heavy equipment was always returned to the same parking spot at dawn so that satellite image analysts would conclude that the equipment was never moved. Piles of dug-out sand were shaped to mimic the wind shaped dune forms in the desert area. The shafts were dug under camouflage netting. When cables for sensors were laid they were carefully covered with sand, and native vegetation was replaced to conceal the digging.

The scientists involved in the operation took care to ensure that even their close friends and colleagues would not detect the work being undertaken at Pokhran. All scientists involved in the operation did not depart for Pokhran simultaneously, but left in groups of two or three. One group would use the pretext of attending a seminar or a conference, and would tell their wives that they could not be contacted while they were away. Tickets were bought for a destination other than Pokhran (or cities nearby) under pseudonyms, and after arriving at their destination, the group would secretly leave for the military base in Jaisalmer from where they would be taken by the army to Pokhran. After finishing their work the group would return, retracing their path. Then another group would leave for the range employing similar means to do their work. In this way, information about the test was kept tightly under wraps. All technical staff at the range wore military fatigues, so that in satellite images they would appear to be military personnel maintaining the test range.

On the diplomatic front, India adopted a policy of ambiguity about deciding to go nuclear. Statements by Indian politicians and diplomats gave an impression to the world that India was not yet decided about its nuclear status. Deliberate steps were taken to ensure that the world community would not take the BJP's campaign promises seriously. In separate meetings with American officials, then Foreign secretary K.Raghunath and Defence Minister George Fernandes
George Fernandes
George Mathew Fernandes is an Indian trade unionist, politician, journalist, agriculturist, and member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar. He is a key member of the Janata Dal , and was the founder of the Samata Party...

 stated that India had not yet decided about going nuclear and they also conveyed to the officials that the National Security Council would be meeting soon to discuss the matter and decide about the nuclear option. The council was to meet on the 26th of May. Both the Indian officials had categorically told the Americans that "there would be no surprise testings". All this led the Americans and the world community to believe that India was not going to pursue the nuclear option in the near future. They did not take the BJP's campaign promises seriously and hence did not expect an Indian nuclear test so soon.

Name


The word Shakti (Hindi:शक्ति) means Strenght in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. It is also the name of the Hindu Goddess of strength, which is seen as symbol of Strength by the Indian Armed Forces. The Operation Shakti was the codename of a thermonuclear device that was exploded in Pokhran Test Range in May 11.

Project Chief Coordinators

  • Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (later, President of India), Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the DRDO.
  • Dr. R. Chidambaram
    Rajagopala Chidambaram
    Rajagopala Chidambaram is an Indian nuclear scientist and metallurgist. He is the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India and former Director of India's primary nuclear research facility, BARC. Dr...

    , Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Atomic energy.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

  • Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Director of BARC.
  • Dr. Satinder Kumar Sikka, Director; Thermonuclear Weapon Development.
  • Dr. M.S. Ramkumar, Director of Nuclear Fuel and Automation Manufacturing Group; Director, Nuclear Component Manufacture.
  • Dr. D.D. Sood, Director of Radiochemistry and Isotope Group; Director, Nuclear Materials Acquisition.
  • Dr. S.K. Gupta, Solid State Physics and Spectroscopy Group; Director, Device Design & Assessment.
  • Dr. G. Govindraj, Associate Director of Electronic and Instrumentation Group; Director, Field Instrumentation.

Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO)

  • Dr. K. Santhanam; Director, Test Site Preparations.
  • Dr. M.Vasudev; Range Safety Officer.

Shakti I


A two stage thermonuclear device with a boosted fission primary, its yield was downgraded from 200 kt (theoretical) to 40 kt for test purposes.

Shakti II


A pure fission device using the Plutonium implosion design with a yield of 15 kt. The device tested was an actual nuclear warhead that can be delivered by bombers or fighters and also mounted on a missile. The warhead was an improved, lightweight and miniaturized version of the device tested in 1974. Scientists at BARC had been working to improve the 1974 design for many years. Data from the 1974 test was used to carry out computer simulations using the indigenous PARAM
PARAM
PARAM is a series of supercomputers designed and assembled by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Pune, India. The latest machine in the series is the PARAM Yuva.Param means supreme in Sanskrit.-History:...

 supercomputer to improve the design. The 1998 test was intended to prove the validity of the improved designs.

Shakti III


An experimental boosted fission device
Boosted fission weapon
A boosted fission weapon usually refers to a type of nuclear bomb that uses a small amount of fusion fuel to increase the rate, and thus yield, of a fission reaction. The neutrons released by the fusion reactions add to the neutrons released in the fission, as well as inducing the fission reactions...

 that used reactor grade Plutonium for its primary with a yield of 0.3 kt. This test device was used to test only the primary stage. It did not contain any tritium
Tritium
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons, whereas the nucleus of protium contains one proton and no neutrons...

 required to boost the fission. This test was designed to study the possibility of using reactor grade plutonium in warheads and also to prove India's expertise in controlling and damping a nuclear explosion in order to achieve a low (sub-kiloton) yield.

Shakti IV


A 0.5 kt experimental device. The test's only purpose was to collect data about the explosion process and to study the performance of various bomb components.

Shakti V


A 0.2 kt experimental device that used U-233
Uranium-233
Uranium-233 is a fissile isotope of uranium, bred from Thorium as part of the thorium fuel cycle. It has been used in a few nuclear reactors and has been proposed for much wider use as a nuclear fuel. It has a half-life of 160,000 years....

, an isotope of uranium that is not found in nature but is produced in India's fast breeder reactors
Breeder reactor
A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor capable of generating more fissile material than it consumes because its neutron economy is high enough to breed fissile from fertile material like uranium-238 or thorium-232. Breeders were at first considered superior because of their superior fuel economy...

 that consume Thorium. This device too was used to collect data.

Production and preparation of devices


Three laboratories of the DRDO were involved in designing, testing and producing components like advanced detonators, the implosion systems, high-voltage trigger systems. They were also responsible for weaponization, systems engineering, aerodynamics, safety interlocks and flight trials. The nuclear devices were moved from their vaults at the BARC complex in the early hours of 1 May, around 3 a.m., by four Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 trucks under the command of Col. Umang Kapur. They were transported to Mumbai airport and flown at dawn in an Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

 AN-32 transport plane to the Jaisalmer military base. An Army convoy of four trucks transported the explosive devices to Pokhran. Three trips were required to complete the delivery of the devices and associated equipment. The devices were delivered directly to the device preparation building in the range which was designated as the 'Prayer Hall'.

The tests were organized into two groups that were fired separately, with all devices in a group fired at the same time. The first group consisted of the thermonuclear device (Shakti I), the fission device (Shakti II), and a sub-kiloton device (Shakti III). The remaining two sub-kiloton devices made up the second group (Shakti IV & V). It was decided that the first group consisting of three devices would be tested on 11 of May and the second group on 13 May. The thermonuclear device was placed in a shaft code named 'White House' (over 200 m deep), while the 'Taj Mahal' shaft (over 150 m deep) was assigned to the fission bomb, and 'Kumbhkaran' to the first sub-kiloton shot. The other two shafts for the second test series were designated NT 1 & NT 2.The first three devices were placed in their respective shafts on 10 May, the day before the tests. The shafts were L-shaped, with a horizontal chamber for the test device. The first device to be placed was the sub-kiloton device in the 'Kumbhkaran' shaft. The Army engineers sealed the shaft at around 8:30 PM. Then the thermonuclear device was lowered into the 'White House' shaft and sealing this shaft took until 4 a.m. the next morning. By then the fission device was being placed in the 'Taj Mahal' shaft. It was sealed at 7:30 a.m., just 90 minutes from the planned test time.

The actual timing of the tests depended on the local weather conditions. It was hot in the Pokhran desert in early May, it reached 43°C on the day of the test. But the critical factor was the wind. Although the tests were underground, they were shallow tests and the sealing of the shaft could not be guaranteed to be leak-proof (a number of shaft seal failures had occurred during tests by USA, USSR and UK despite the shafts being much deeper). Winds blowing toward inhabited areas, as occurred on the morning on 11 May were not acceptable. But by early afternoon the winds had died down and the scientists decided to go ahead with the tests. Dr. K. Santhanam of the DRDO, who was in charge of the test site preparations, gave the two keys that activated the test countdown to Dr. M. Vasudev, the range safety officer, who was responsible for verifying that all test indicators were normal. After checking the indicators, Vasudev handed one key each to a representative of BARC and the DRDO, who together unlocked the countdown system. At 3:45 p.m. the three devices were detonated.

Detonations


The three devices (Shakti I,II & III) were detonated simultaneously at 10:13:44.2 UCT (+/-0.32 sec; 6:13:44.2 a.m. EDT; 3:43:44.2 p.m. local) as measured by international seismic monitors. Seismic data collected by stations outside India have placed the total magnitude of the first event at 5.3 (+/- 0.4), making it one of the largest seismic events in the world during the 24 hr period during which it occurred. The measured seismic center of the triple event was located at 27.0716 deg N latitude, and 71.7612 deg E longitude, which places it only 2.8 km from the 1974 test site (which was at 27.095 deg N, 71.752 deg E). The combined force of the three blasts lifted an area about the size of a cricket ground to a few metres above the earth kicking up dust and sand into the air. Three craters were sunk on the desert surface.

Just two days later on 13 May, at 6:51 UCT (2:51 a.m. EST, 12.21 p.m. local), the two sub-kiloton devices were detonated underground. This event was not detected by any seismic stations as they were of very low yield.

With the five explosions, India declared the series of tests to be over.

Reactions in India


Shortly after the tests, a press meet was convened at the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi. Prime Minister Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who served as the tenth Prime Minister of India three times – first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004. After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from...

 appeared before the press corps and made the following short statement:

Today, at 1545 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. The tests conducted today were with a fission device, a low yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests.


News of the tests were greeted with jubilation and large-scale approval by the society in India. The Bombay Stock Exchange registered significant gains. Newspapers and television channels praised the government for its bold decision; editorials were full of praise for the country's leadership and advocated the development of an operational nuclear arsenal for the country's armed forces. The scientific establishment was thankful to the government for having been given the opportunity to prove their capabilities. More significantly, all doubts were erased from the minds of people who questioned India's nuclear capability after the testing in 1974.

U.N. Sanctions


The reactions from abroad started immediately after the tests were advertised. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 issued a statement expressing its disappointment. On June 6, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 adopted Resolution 1172
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172, adopted unanimously on June 6, 1998, after hearing of nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998, the Council condemned the tests and demanded that both countries refrain from engaging in further tests.-Resolution:The Security Council...

 condemning the test and that of Pakistan's. The United States issued a strong statement condemning India and promised that sanctions would follow. The American establishment was embarrassed as there had been a serious intelligence failure in detecting the preparations for the test. Canada, which had earlier supplied the CIRUS nuclear reactor to India which was the source of plutonium for the 1974 tests, reassured the world that the CIRUS reactor was not in any way connected to the 1998 tests. China issued a vociferous condemnation calling upon the international community to exert pressure on India to sign the NPT and eliminate its nuclear arsenal. With India joining the group of countries possessing nuclear weapons, a new strategic dimension had emerged in Asia, particularly South Asia.

U.S. and Japanese reaction


In keeping with its preferred approach to foreign policy in recent decades, and in compliance with a 1994 anti-proliferation law, the United States imposed economic sanctions on India. The sanctions on India consisted of cutting off all assistance to India except humanitarian aid, banning the export of certain defense material and technologies, ending American credit and credit guarantees to India, and requiring the U.S. to oppose lending by international financial institutions to India.

Japan also imposed economic sanctions on India. The sanctions consisted of freezing all new loans and grants except for humanitarian aid to India.

Some other nations also imposed sanctions on India, primarily in the form of suspension of foreign aid and government-to-government credit lines. However, the overall effect on India's economy and technological progress was marginal. Most nations did not sanction India, and India's exports and imports together constituted only 4% of its GDP, with U.S. trade accounting for only 10% of this total. Far more significant were the restrictions on lending imposed by the United States and its representatives on international finance bodies. Most of the sanctions were lifted within five years.

Support for India


However, other nations, such as Israel, France and Russia, did not condemn India's tests. Israel issued a statement praising India's tests and declaring that India's reasons for carrying out nuclear tests were the same as Israel's.

Pakistan


The most vehement reaction to India's nuclear test was Pakistan's. Great ire was raised in Pakistan, which issued a severe statement blaming India for instigating a nuclear arms race in the region. Pakistan Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 Navaz Sharif vowed that his country would give a suitable reply to the Indians. The day after the first tests, Pakistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Captain (retired) Gohar Ayub Khan
Gohar Ayub Khan
Gohar Ayub Khan is a Pakistani politician and a son of the late Pakistani dictator, President General Ayub Khan. A Tareen/Tarin Afghan/Pathan, he was born in village Rehana, Haripur, Hazara region. Khan studied at Army Burn Hall College, Abbottabad, and Saint Mary's Academy, Rawalpindi,...

 indicated that Pakistan was ready to conduct a nuclear test of its own. As he said: "[Pakistan] is prepared to match India, we have the capability ... We in Pakistan will maintain a balance with India in all fields", he said in an interview. "We are in a headlong arms race on the subcontinent."

Prime Minister Navaz Sharif was much more subdued, refusing to say whether a test would be conducted in response: "We are watching the situation and we will take appropriate action with regard to our security", he said. Sharif sought to mobilize the entire Islamic world in support of Pakistan and criticized India for nuclear proliferation.

Given authorization by Prime minister Navaz Sharif, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) carried out nuclear testing under the codename Chagai-I
Chagai-I
The Chagai-I was a codename referring to the five underground nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan at 15:15hrs in 28th May of 1998. It was named Chagai-I, as the tests were conducted in the Chagai District...

on May 28, 1998 and Chagai-II on May 30, 1998. These six underground nuclear tests at the Chagai and Kharan test site were conducted just fifteen days after India's last test. The total yield of the tests were reported to be 40 kt (see codename: Chagai-I
Chagai-I
The Chagai-I was a codename referring to the five underground nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan at 15:15hrs in 28th May of 1998. It was named Chagai-I, as the tests were conducted in the Chagai District...

).

Pakistan's subsequent tests invited similar condemnations from multiple nations ranging from Argentina to Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. American president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 was quoted as saying "Two wrongs don't make a right", criticizing Pakistan's tests as reactionary to India's Pokhran-II. The United States, Japan, and a number of other states reacted by imposing economic sanctions on Pakistan.

Pakistan's leading nuclear physicist and one of the top scientists, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy
Pervez Hoodbhoy
Dr. Prof. Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy , is a Pakistani nuclear physicist, essayist and political-defence analyst. He is the professor of nuclear and high-energy physics, and the head of the Physics Department at the Quaid-e-Azam University . He graduated and also received PhD from MIT and continues to...

, held India responsible for Pakistan's nuclear test experiments in Chagai.

Test yields


The yields from the three tests on 11 May 1998 were put at 58 kilotons by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is India's primary nuclear research facility based in Mumbai. It has a number of nuclear reactors, all of which are used for India's nuclear power and research programme.- History :...

 based on seismic data obtained at the test site 3 kilometres from the test shafts. The tests were defined as a complete success, and it was determined that all the devices and their components had performed flawlessly. To remove all doubts, the senior scientists involved in the Pokhran operations addressed the press on the 17th of May. In this press meet the scientists claimed that the fission device produced a yield of 15 kt and .3 kt was obtained from the low yield device. They also claimed that the thermonuclear device gave a total yield of 45 kt, 15 kt from the fission trigger and 30 kt from the fusion process and that the theoretical yield of the device (200 kt) was reduced to 45 kt in order to minimize seismic damage to villages near the test range. The village closest to the test range, Khetolai, was a mere 5 kilometres away.

Recent allegations

In 2009 it was widely reported that a retired atomic scientist, K. Santhanam who was closely associated with the tests, claims that the 1998 tests were not as successful as the then BJP government had claimed they were. These claims were widely dismissed in India, including a specific dismissal by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who cited evidence and data to prove his point.

Legacy


May 11 has been officially declared as National Technology Day in India to commemorate the first of the five tests that were carried out on May 11, 1998. The day was officially signed by the then Prime Minister of India. The day is celebrated by giving awards to various individuals and industries in the field of science and industry.

External links


Books


See also

  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister.
  • R. Chidambaram,
  • Anil Kakodkar
    Anil Kakodkar
    Anil Kakodkar is an eminent Indian nuclear scientist and mechanical engineer. He was the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy. Before leading India's Nuclear Programme, he was the Director of the Bhabha Atomic...

  • India and weapons of mass destruction
    India and weapons of mass destruction
    India possesses nuclear weapons and maintains short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable aircraft, surface ships, and submarines under development as possible delivery systems and platforms...

  • Pokhran-I - First nuclear test explosion by India on May 18, 1974
  • Chagai-I
    Chagai-I
    The Chagai-I was a codename referring to the five underground nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan at 15:15hrs in 28th May of 1998. It was named Chagai-I, as the tests were conducted in the Chagai District...

     - Pakistan's nuclear test on May 28, 1998
  • Chagai-II - Pakistan's second nuclear test on May 30, 1998