India’s nuclear fizzle

Pervez Hoodbhoy in Dawn:

Pervez SUSPICION has now turned into confirmed fact: India’s hydrogen bomb test of May 1998 was not the fantastic success it was claimed to be. Last week’s dramatic revelation by K. Santanam, a senior RAW official with important responsibilities at the 1998 Pokhran test site, has essentially confirmed conclusions known from seismic analysis after the explosion. Instead of 45 kilotons of destructive energy, the explosion had produced only 15 to 20. The bomb had not worked as designed. Why blow the whistle 11 years later? An irresistible urge to tell the truth or moral unease is scarcely the reason. Santanam’s ‘coming clean’ has the stamp of approval of the most hawkish of Indian nuclear hawks. Among them are P.K. Iyengar, A.N. Prasad, Bharat Karnad and Brahma Chellaney. By rubbishing the earlier test as a failure, they hope to make the case for more nuclear tests. This would enable India to develop a full-scale thermonuclear arsenal.

More here.