India needs more nuclear tests
Thursday, 27 August 2009, 10:04 Hrs | 25 Comments
"We can't get into a stampede to sign CTBT. We should conduct more nuclear tests which are necessary from the point of view of security," K. Santhanam told IANS here.
"We should not get railroaded into signing the CTBT," Santhanam said when asked about reports of the U.S pressuring India to sign the CTBT and fresh efforts by the Obama administration to revive non-proliferation activism.
Santhanam, a former official with the Defence Research and Development Organisation, said that the thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb tests - the first and most powerful of the three tests conducted on May 11, 1998 - did not produce the desired yield.
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Chief R. Chidambaram is on record as saying that the bombs yield was 45 kilotons (45,000 tonnes of conventional explosive).
Santhanam's remarks are set to create a flutter in the non-proliferation establishment in the U.S and may raise doubts about the future of the India-U.S nuclear deal which will unravel if New Delhi were to test again.
Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has defended India's nuclear deterrence capability even as former National Security Adviser (NSA) Brajesh Mishra rubbished Santhanam's claim that the 1998 Pokhran tests were not successful. Kalam, who mentored India's nuclear programme, said the only thermonuclear device tested in 1998 produced the "design yield".
"After the test, there was a detailed review, based on the two experimental results: (i) seismic measurement close to the site and around and (ii) radioactive measurement of the material after post shot drill in the test site. From these data, it has been established by the project team that the design yield of the thermonuclear test has been obtained," Kalam added.
"(Santhanam) is misleading the country. He is perhaps saying all this because he is so opposed to the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty)," Mishra said when asked why Santhanam was sowing seeds of doubt in the people's minds about India's nuclear capability.
Santhanam's assessment is set to bolster India's opposition to signing the CTBT - an issue that may figure in the discussions when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes to the U.S in November. India has opposed CTBT on grounds that it is discriminatory and tends to divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.
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