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Updated: December 14, 2009 02:24 IST

1998 nuclear tests were perfect, says Kakodkar

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Former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar at a book release function in Thane on Sunday.
Former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar at a book release function in Thane on Sunday.

The Army should be fully confident as there was no doubt about the nuclear arsenal at its command, the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Anil Kakodkar said, seeking to put at rest questions raised over the efficacy of the country’s hydrogen bomb test.

“I think that is guaranteed. The Army should be fully confident. There is no doubt about the arsenal at their command,” he told Karan Thapar on the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme on CNN-IBN.

Mr. Kakodkar, who retired from service on November 30, was asked about the remark of the former Army Chief, V.P. Malik, that nuclear scientists should assure the armed forces about the efficacy of the thermonuclear device.

He ruled out the need for further thermonuclear tests, saying the country has several hydrogen bombs with a yield “much more” than 45 kilo tons. “Of course. Why do you put singular, use plural?” he shot back when asked whether India had a thermonuclear bomb.

“Much more than that. I said from up to low kilotons to 200 kilotons,” he said when asked whether the hydrogen bomb had a yield of 45 kilo tons.

Mr. Kakodkar dismissed former DRDO scientist K. Santhanam’s claims over the success of the 1998 thermonuclear tests, saying it would not be correct to assume that he (the defence scientist) knew everything. “We required logistic support which was provided by DRDO…things were being done on a need-to-know basis. To assume that Santhanam knew everything is not correct. Santhanam knew what was within his responsibility,” he said.

Mr. Kakodkar also said it was “totally erroneous” to conclude that the hydrogen bomb test was not a success.

“It is a totally erroneous conclusion. The yield of thermonuclear test was verified, not by one method but by several methods and by different groups, and this has been reviewed in detail,” he said. “I had described the tests as perfect in 1998 and I stand by that,” added Mr. Kakodkar, who played key roles in the nuclear tests of 1974 and 1998.

He also said the instruments used by the DRDO to measure the yield of the tests did not work. “I myself had reviewed this immediately after the test and we concluded that these instruments did not work…If the instruments did not work, where is the question of going by the assertions based on them and what is the basis of those assertions?” he said.

On former AEC chief P.K. Iyengar’s support to Mr. Santhanam’s claims, Mr. Kakodkar said: “Iyengar was not in the picture as far as 1998 tests were concerned. He knows only as much as has been published. Nothing more.”

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