Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Behind The Screen- POKHRAN Nuclear Test.

As we all know “POKHRAN NUCLEAR TEST”-1998 has special feet in Indian History, here we will reveal some of the interesting trivia which we are not aware widely. The operation was presided under the supervision of our former President Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam who was the Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister at that time and Mr. Chidambaram, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy. And they were co-ordinate by a team of 58th Regiment of the Army Engineering Crops was preparing the test site and scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre were employed in the test. This operation was kept too secret as the American satellites detected the test preparation in 1995. So it was decided that preparations for the May 1998 tests should be undertaken under a cloud of secrecy so that foreign powers could not detect the preparations. Effective measures were taken in order to deceive intelligence agencies around the world. Only our honorable Prime Minister Mr A.B.Vajpayee, Home Minister Mr L.K.Advani and External Affairs Minister Mr Jaswant Singh were aware of this test. Among the army people, Indian Army Commander Mr Joginder Jaswant Singh and National Security Adviser Mr Brajesh Mishra. The Finance Minister and the Defense Minister were given 48 hours' notice. DRDO were employed in assembling the nuclear reactors, weapons and transporting them to Pokhran. Placing them into shafts in the ground and laying a network of sensors to gather data during the explosions. The engineers were aware of the American satellites which always monitoring us, so most of the work was done at night and heavy equipments were always returned to the same parking spot at dawn so that satellite image analysts would conclude that the equipments were never moved. The piles of dug out were in the shape of mimic the wind shaped dune forms in deserts. The cables for sensors were laid and they were covered with sand and native vegetation was replaced to conceal the digging. The shafts were dug under camouflage netting. The scientists who were working for this operation were too cautious that even their colleagues and close friends would not know their work for the test. The scientists who were working in this did not depart to Pokhran simultaneously, but left in small groups. One group would pretend to attend as conference and seminars 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. By 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. Besides this work, in separate meetings with American officials, the foreign secretary K.Raghunath and Defense Minister George Fernandez 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 not be any surprise testing". All these 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 and we proved our power to this world.


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