Describing National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan as a “babe in the woods” on nuclear matters for his comments on Pokhran-II tests, the former DRDO scientist, K. Santhanam, has said his career has been that of “a cop and a spook.”

Chiding Mr. Narayanan for calling him a maverick, Mr. Santhanam, who was one of the four key scientists associated with the tests in 1998, said “it shows desperation of a sort. There is a nice phrase in football — attacking the player, not the ball.”

“The attempt is to give the dog a bad name. But this dog has not lost its bite,” Mr. Santhanam said in an interview to Outlook magazine.

The scientist recently stirred a controversy claiming that the 1998 nuclear tests were not successful as was projected.

Terming the scientist’s claims about the tests “horrific,” Mr. Narayanan asserted that India had thermonuclear capabilities which had been verified by a peer group of researchers.

Countering Mr. Narayanan’s assertion, Mr. Santhanam said: “I am a person from a nuclear background, who spent close to 16 years in Trombay, published articles in various journals. I was doing strategic analysis long before I came to Delhi.”

“I may not be known to Mr. Narayanan but, if anything, I will add that Mr. Narayanan is a babe in the woods on nuclear matters. His career has been that of a cop and a spook. And I do not want to elaborate any further.”

Claiming that they could only manage yield of 20 to 25 KT against the expected 45 KT during the thermonuclear (TN) test, Mr. Santhanam said “no crater was formed ... if you look at the seismic data recorded by the DRDO instruments, which worked beautifully, you can tell that the 45 KT yield didn’t happen.”

Advocating resumption of nuclear tests, he said, “if the opportunity arises we should consider resuming tests ... If you ask me, I think the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will be pursued with much vigour by the new U.S. administration. The window of opportunity is available now.”

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