Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pok-1(1974) was a PNE - thats all!

I am sick of hearing people like S. Valkan who think they know what they are talking about make claims about the 1974 nuclear test at Pokharan.

The POK-1(1974) device was a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion - a non-weaponized device that allowed Indian scientists to examine first hand the nature of nuclear fission.

In June of 1971 - Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had clarified the difference between between the PNE and a weapons program. In September of that year - Vikram Sarabhai, Chairman AEC told the Fourth International Conference on the Public Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva that Indian scientists were working on a PNE.

On 18 May 1974 Madame Gandhi told a press conference that "there's nothing to get excited about. This is our normal research and study. But we are firmly committed to only peaceful uses of atomic energy."

In June of 1974 the US shipped an installment of uranium fuel for the TAPS BWR. The US decided that the PNE test did not violate any agreement with the United States and that Washington was bound by the 1963 nuclear cooperation agreement and the 1966 contract, to supply LEU for TAPS.

The crater morphology of the 1974 event is identical to the craters at other non-Indian PNE tests. Even the NPA site accepts ...

The bomb was certainly an experimental test device, not a weapon in deployable form.

The only statements that have come from any kind of Indian officials about this have come from

1) Raja Ramanna

The Pokhran test was a bomb, I can tell you now... An explosion is an explosion, a gun is a gun, whether you shoot at someone or shoot at the ground... I just want to make clear that the test was not all that peaceful.

This statement is paraded about by conspiracy theorists as a way to suggest that India was secretly pursuing a weapons option. That is complete nonsense - the Ramanna statement was quoted out of context by the TOI reporter. The statement was made in the context of a recesssed deterrence scheme. In such a scheme - the state parades the ability to make nuclear devices - as opposed to parading its desire to field weaponized configurations. The two things are very different - the first simply says - Look I can make the thing I need to defend myself - the latter says I have a bomb - gee- I wonder who I can blow to bits with it.

2) Madam Indira Gandhi - there is a statement that Madam Gandhi made on the floor of the parliament in response to a question after the 1974 test. In the statement she used the word "bomb". This is taken by some conspiracy theorists and NPA to signal what they call her "true intentions". There is another similar utterance attributed to R. Chidambaram something like "this is how good our bomb" was. This is complete blithering nonsense - in both cases the speakers were merely using the colloquial term for "explosive".

India did not begin weapons development until 1981-2. It was in this period that we determined that Pakistan was now relentlessly pursuing weaponization with Chinese assistance. It was only then that the first gentle steps were taken towards weaponization and it was only then that the first nuclear CBMs were discussed and initiated with Pakistan.

All these people who are talking crap about the PNE being a weapon are simply victims of NPA propaganda. In their desire to see a "Strong India" they are making up a history which simply does not exist.

The greatest strength of a nation lies in the ability of its people to stomach the truth. These people who constantly need to cling to lies about the Pokharan 1974 PNE simply can't handle the truth.

Before 1998 - it made some sense to talk about the PNE and make suggestions about India's capabilities. After 1998 it simply does not make sense to do this.

Continously harping on the idea that the 1974 PNE was a weapon produces two highly undesirable outcomes -

1) It gives the mistaken impression that India has been stockpiling nuclear weapons since 1974. That leads to a misperception of India's strength. Post 1998 - this is highly unhealthy.

2) It perpetuates the impression that the Government of India has lied to the public and to the international community. This would be fine - if it were true. It simply isn't and that kind of media perception only really helps the Non-Proliferation yahoos make the case that India is not to be trusted on the international arena.

If your patriotism needs an outlet - find something else to do. You aren't doing anyone in India a favor by pretending that the 1974 PNE was a weapon - so just shut up or talk about something else you actually know something about!


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