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Monday, August 13, 2018

Rejoicing Independence


The news broke out about the conduct of underground nuclear tests without any fanfare by the prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to a world that looked in disbelief. On the momentous day of 11 May 1998 three nuclear devices including a thermonuclear device were detonated underground at Pokharan near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. 

''I have a brief announcement to make,'' he said. ''Today, at 1545 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokharan range. The tests conducted were with a fission device, a low-yield device, and a thermonuclear device.' were the words of Mr Vajpayee. 

''The measured yields are in line with expected values,'' he said. ''Measurements have confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like in the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out the successful tests. Thank you very much indeed'', he concluded his brief address

The next morning the global dailies flashed the messages like the ones below:

INDIA SETS 3 NUCLEAR BLASTS, DEFYING A WORLDWIDE BAN; TESTS BRING A SHARP OUTCRY - reported by John F Burns at The New York Times
1998: India explodes nuclear controversy is what BBC World said.

After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, this was perhaps the news that changed the game of nuclear non-proliferation for all time to come. The group of P5 nations that had set the tone for the rest of the world regarding the rules of nuclear non-proliferation got a rude shock. India which had been marginalized by these nations now stood shoulder to shoulder in its capability to not only deploy the nuclear weapons but also had the capability to launch these warheads on the surface, air and sea-launched missiles. 
Quickly, the prime minister assured that rest of the world on the following days in the parliament that India would adopt the policy of "No First Use" against the nations that had the similar capability.
Not only the myth of the Non-Proliferation Treaty( NPT) was broken but the voice of a poor and the marginalized nation was heard with a thunder. This was followed by a series of sanctions by the developed world to restrict the flow of dual-use technology into India. 

In the long run, India has stood its ground. Aghast at India's explosions Pakistan the neighbor retaliated by conducting similar explosions in just a fortnight after Indian experiments.
There have been repercussions in short-term due various sanctions but in the long run, has gained in terms of the tremendous boost to the morale of the populace. The armed forces now equate themselves with the best anywhere in the world both in terms of the quality of manpower and technological edge. 

In recent times India has managed to give its neighbor a bloody nose by striking inside its territory in a midnight surgical strike. They now think twice before carrying out major terrorist strikes in fear of the repercussions that may follow. It is a matter of pride that India has lived up to its image of being friendly as well as tough as warranted by the situation.The capability of developing indigenous 
technology and adopt the best practices elsewhere in the world will usher in a new era off prosperity and self reliance.

PS: This is my blog post for Zee Cinema/ Indiblogger sponsored campaign to promote the movie "Parmanu" that highlights India's accomplishment of Pokharn 2 atomic tests

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