In their article, “Pokhran-II thermonuclear test, a failure,” (Sept. 17), K. Santhanam and Ashok Parthasarathi have revealed that a disagreement existed between BARC and the DRDO on the yield estimates obtained by them using their own instrumentation and sensors. Prima facie, there is no reason why DRDO must be right and BARC wrong or vice-versa. However, the interpretation of the charts/graphs/data obtained by both the organisations can be subjected to third-party verification.
The arguments put forward by the authors raise significant doubts on the success of the May 1998 thermonuclear test and our credible minimum deterrent (CMD). More so when they come from an eminent and distinguished physicist like Dr. Santhanam. We can ill afford to be lax in matters of national security. We should conduct further tests of our TN device if there is even an iota of doubt regarding the success of the 1998 test. In the worst case scenario, it might cost us the nuclear deal with the U.S., the benefits and usefulness of which have anyway been a subject of serious debate.
V. V. Nataraj,