Uttar Pradesh: Twenty one years ago, on 11 May, 1998, India conducted three nuclear tests at Pokhran, raising the pride of the nation across the world. Though the global community condemned the tests, the tests nevertheless made the major powers sit up and take notice of India as a rising power in the world.
While congratulating all those who worked behind the successful tests on 11 and 13 May, 1998, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that only a government which gives priority of national security is able to achieve this.
He said, “India always had such ability but governments prior to Vajpayee government did not have the courage to take such decision. You can achieve this only if your priority is national security. Only then can you have courage to take decision for a nuclear test.
Narendra Modi also saluted all those who were behind the nuclear tests which launched India on a new path in nuclear diplomacy. The Prime Minister said, “21 years back on this day, India successfully carried out nuclear test – operation Shakti. I salute scientists who brought laurel to the country with hardwork. This historical incident in 1998, proves what a strong will power can do for national security.
With operation Shakti, India became the sixth nation to be a nuclear power after the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China had entered the nuclear club.
After the 11 May nuclear tests, the world community came together to condemn India’s stand and sanctions were launched against the country. However, Vajpayee stood firm against global pressure and the country was able to tide over the sanctions.
Incidentally, it was Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who was the in-charge during the second Pokharan tests. The BJP government latter made Abdul Kalam the 11th President of India in 2002.
The second tests at Pokhran in 1998 came amid strained relations between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Though preparations were going on for a second round of nuclear bomb tests after 1974, successive governments feared international condemnation and backed out from taking a positive decision.
In 1998, NDA government under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee took the bold step to go ahead with the tests. Though, CIA and the United States spy satellites were on the guard against India conducting another round of tests, they were all successfully thwarted by smart moves by select scientists, senior military officers, and top political leadership.
India now celebrates National Technological Day every year on 11 May.