Forty Years Ago, May 1, 1978: Nanda Devi Device

Two plutonium devices were planted on the Nanda Devi — one in 1964 and the other in 1967 — to monitor the Chinese nuclear tests. Both were lost in avalanches.

By: Editorial | Published: May 1, 2018 12:21:04 am
Forty Years Ago, May 1, 1978: Nanda Devi Device The front page of Indian Express on May 1, 1978

External affairs minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said India would not abandon its attempts to recover the plutonium device which was planted on the Nanda Devi and lost in an avalanche. He said India would try to recover it on its own if necessary, and with international cooperation, if need be. “We do not accept theories that it would not pose any threat,” he said. Vajpayee, who was passing through London on his way to New Delhi from the US, was speaking to reporters. Two plutonium devices were planted on the Nanda Devi — one in 1964 and the other in 1967 — to monitor the Chinese nuclear tests. Both were lost in avalanches. They were planted by the US with the consent of the then prime ministers — Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi — and in cooperation the government of India.

Zia To Stay On

The Pakistan Chief Martial Law Administrator, General Mohammad Zia ul Haq, will either be the prime minister or the president if he succeeds in forming a national government with the help of political parties. The semi-official Urdu daily, Imroze, of Lahore had reported that a proposal to switch over to the presidential form of government was reported to be under consideration if a national government was set up. The army will be considered as a party and Zia will be the president with the portfolios of defence and home, the paper wrote.

Taraki Is Afghan PM

Afghanistan’s National Revolutionary Council (NRC) appointed a civilian, Nur Muhammed Taraki, as prime minister and head of state, reports Tass from Kabul. This was announced over Radio Afghanistan. The decree described Taraki as “the outstanding national revolutionary” and renamed the country as the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union became the first country to recognise the new Afghan regime, Radio Pakistan reported.

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