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PM seeks to rest row over Pokhran nuclear tests


First published: August 29, 2009, 4:27 PM IST | Updated: August 29, 2009
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PM seeks to rest row over Pokhran nuclear tests
Controversy created by scientist's statement needless: Singh.

Ramsar, Rajasthan: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that the controversy over the May 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests was "needles" and cited former president A P J Abdul Kalam's assertion that the tests were successful.

"A wrong impression has been given by some scientists (about the success of Pokhran-II)," Manmohan Singh told reporters in Ramsar. "A needless controversy has been created over the Pokhran tests."

Manmohan Singh also pointed out that Kalam, who spearheaded India's nuclear programme, has clarified that the Pokhran-II tests were successful.

The controversy arose when K. Santhanam, who was director of the test site for Pokhran-II, said earlier this week that the thermonuclear test, one of the three conducted on May 11, 1998 was a "fizzle" - meaning that it did not meet the intended parametres.

Santhanam's remarks sparked speculation about India's nuclear deterrence. Kalam quickly repudiated Santhanam and said that the test had yielded the desired yield.

"After the test, there was a detailed review, based on the two experimental results - seismic measurement close to the site and around and radioactive measurement of the material after post shot drill in the test site," Kalam had told IANS Thursday.

"From these data, it has been established by the project team that the design yield of the thermonuclear test has been obtained," he added.

Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar also said the tests had achieved "100 percent desired results".

The defence ministry, too, had reacted sharply to Santhanam's contention, saying India has a meaningful nuclear deterrent.

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