27 February, 2021

The Darkness Surrounding That Day In The Desert

Why the AEC, as it is constituted today, can’t pronounce on Pokhran-II

Illustration by Sorit
The Darkness Surrounding That Day In The Desert

A veil of secrecy has its benefits. Under its cover, ‘facts’ can be manufactured easily. Such manufactured facts elevate us to such an extent that we feel we are a match for anyone in the world. This is what has happened with India’s first H-bomb test and, earlier, with India’s attempt to develop a nuclear submarine propulsion plant. Both national projects were headed by nuclear scientists who ascended smoothly to top government posts, adept more in the pursuit of power than of science and technology.

The pretence to knowledge of these top nuclear bosses remains undetected still, given how the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 are structured.

Santhanam’s Disclosures: Eleven years after Pokhran-II of May 1998, Dr K. Santhanam, a key participant in the nuclear tests, picked up courage to state publicly in August-September 2009 that...

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