India’s N-project going strong
By Tribune India
An important feature of India’s nuclear deterrent has been the calibrated secrecy surrounding its growth. This is essential, as India’s nuclear weapons and missile programmes have a large involvement of dedicated scientists and engineers from the DRDO, the Department of Atomic Energy, academic institutions, and commercial organisations from the public and private sectors.
India’s nuclear weapons programme is under continuing worldwide scrutiny, including by specialist organisations like the Federation of American Scientists and similar organisations in the UK, France, Russia, and doubtless, China and Pakistan.
India has produced three nuclear-powered submarines, and could induct the fourth next year.
While Indian scientists have made discreet statements about our ballistic missile tests, one finds more details of our nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in studies by American scientific publications like the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and other organisations like the MacArthur Foundation. Such studies are carefully researched and counterchecked. These are not significantly different from what one periodically finds in writings in India.
According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, India has enough weapons grade plutonium to produce 150 to 200 nuclear weapons, with a current estimated stockpile of 150 nuclear weapons. There is potential to step up production of fissile material significantly through the growing numbers of fast breeder and other plutonium reactors. According to the infamous Dr AQ Khan, Pakistan provided China with the centrifuge technology for enriched uranium, whose details he had purloined in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.
China, in turn, provided Pakistan the knowhow to utilise enriched uranium produced in Pakistan for nuclear weapons. The then US President Jimmy Carter looked the other way at these developments after he was swept off his feet by his ‘friendship’ with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.
India is surely entitled to produce variety of nuclear weapons to be launched from land,air and sea. India can not afford to be on the back foot in such activities, at a time when the Pakistan is feverishly equipping itself with nuclear weapons at the cost of many vital and essential developments for the country. No body can question India on this account because the country has achieved this self sufficiency on its own by sheer hard work and knowledge of Indian scientists.
It is heartening to see that India began manufacturing military hardware within the country for its own use, and export purposes. This make in India phenomenon is a tremendous leap in making the country self-sufficient military, while reducing imports in this regard. It is good to see that the Centre is ensuring best technology and latest R&D being incorporated in designing and manufacturing hi tech weaponry.