India needs more nuclear tests: former AEC chairman Iyengar

DR P K IyengAr,former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission,asserted that India needed to conduct more nuclear tests to develop credible thermonuclear devices....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:September 30, 2009 3:34 am

DR P K IyengAr,former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission,asserted that India needed to conduct more nuclear tests to develop credible thermonuclear devices. The top scientist,who played a leading role in the first Pokharan test in 1974,said that regardless of the controversy over the yield of the 1998 thermonuclear test,India needed to continue its weapons development programme and conduct more validation tests.

“Even if we had got a yield of 43 kilotons in the (1998) tests,the amount of fusion is still not enough. We should continue the development and test again,” Iyengar said after a ceremony in the capital that marked the release of his book Briefings on Nuclear Technologies in India.

Iyengar,who has detailed the role of nuclear power in the country and has traced the development facet of nuclear energy in the book,said that India needs to stay out of regimes like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as it would need to test again as part of the nuclear development programme.

His book,which traces the historical development of the nuclear programme,also makes the argument that the nuclear arsenal of the country cannot be complete unless it is tested to certify its yield to the military. Giving the example of US,Iyengar argues that 10 percent of the weapons in its arsenal have been tested to reassure the military.

While he refused to be drawn into the debate over the controversial comments of former DRDO scientist K Santhanam who says that the 1998 nuclear tests were not completely successful,Iyengar said that statements by the scientists should be taken seriously as they had a ‘certain credibility’.

However,making a strong point for testing nuclear weapons again,Iyengar said that most countries test their weapons several times before inducting them as a credible defence system. “Nobody makes a weapon out of a single test,” he said.

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