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Indigenously developed Pinaka rockets, capable of destroying enemy positions at 40 kms-range with rapid salvos, were toda
V. Sudarshan in the New Indian Express:
...It has been made clear that the government will go after those who indulge in reporting on China in a manner that the government doesn’t want, an extraordinary thing to do considering that Vajpayee had cited China as the reason for the nuclear tests in 1998. And his defence minister George Fernandes had termed the country India’s “potential threat number 1”. Why is the UPA government developing a thin skin now on China? This irritability is the clearest indication why there is no progress in core issues with China even though our national security adviser keeps having numerous “good meetings” with his Chinese counterpart regularly in exotic places. It would be a good idea if they come clean on what really goes on at these meetings.
Read the full piece: Pied Piper of the PMO
Ramesh Thakur in the Times of India:
The critics of the 1998 tests have been vindicated. Nuclearisation has bought India neither strategic gains nor defence on the cheap. India still lacks effective deterrence against China, let alone parity with the US. Doubts have been sown in the public mind in India and in official policy circles in China and Pakistan about the reliability, robustness and resilience of India's nuclear power status. These cannot be removed without further tests that are unambiguously successful in delivering the projected yields.
Yet any such tests would provoke the wrath of the international community and wreck the hard-fought nuclear deal with the US. With US president Barack Obama recommitting to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and entering into fresh agreements with Russia for dramatic steps in denuclearising the world, India would be marching to a tune everyone else finds harshly discordant. And it would launch a fresh round in the endless cycle of arms races in the subcontinent, with blame falling largely, perhaps even solely, on this country.
Read the full article
The National Security Adviser's job is such that it involves him being in the news almost on a daily basis.
On the missing Andhra CM's chopper, the NSA today said, "Naxal strike seems extremely improbable. I would almost entirely rule it out. I do not think the Naxalites have the capability to bring down the helicopter". We have no reason to doubt his information about the capabilities of the Naxalites. However, writing in the New Indian Express, V. Sudarshan quotes sources in the scientific community who were closely involved in the [Pokhran II] test to say that the NSA
"needs to brush up on what really happened in Pokhran and suggest that he stick to defending words like Balochistan which have appeared mysteriously in the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement and which will have an accelerated tendency to appear in future joint statements as well. In an aside they suggest that the NSA remove his foot from his mouth at least when he grants interviews to friendly media. In this interview he claims that nobody has really questioned the “authorised and proven measurements” of the yields done by Anil Kakodkar and S K Sikka, who along with Chidambaram form the government’s core think tank on nuclear matters. The NSA is wrong as usual on this claim too. Chidambaram’s former boss, P K Iyengar has long and consistently questioned the result of the alleged thermonuclear blast at Pokhran. If we have an NSA who didn’t know this much he is an even bigger ignoramus than is feared."
Also See: PK Iyengar on Time to Test Again
Post Script: September 3: For a quick recap of the CTBT debate and the controversies regarding Pokhran II, also see: Amitabh Mattoo & Rajive Nayan: The New Fizzle Debate - The nuclear question concerns everybody, not just scientists
First K Santhanam and now Homi Sethna have waded into the claims made by R. Chidambaram and APJ Kalam on the yield from Pokhran II tests. V. Sudarshan provided a useful recap a couple of days back in the New Indian Express:
Retired scientists remember how implacably Manmohan Singh was opposed to testing, declaring at a Cabinet political affairs committee meeting which was debating a US suggestion that India float a resolution on the Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty, in the presence of Narasimha Rao, that “1974 was a mistake.”
Should we then believe [R] Chidambaram and Abdul Kalam who should bear responsibility for the way they tailored their advice to their political masters or the current naval chief who, scientists argue, will not be able to tell a nuclear device even if one was sitting right in front of him or even if he recognised one would not be able to distinguish one end of such a device from the other...
However much the Congress titters at the way BJP now quarrels over what really happened at Kandahar it should start worrying seriously at the way our deterrence may have been compromised first inadvertently by the BJP and now deliberately by the UPA.
Read the full article at the New Indian Express