India is building a “secret nuclear city” in Karnataka to produce thermonuclear weapons. When completed in 2017, it would be the subcontinent’s “largest military-run” complex of nuclear centrifuges, US-based Foreign Policy magazine has said in a report.
Commenting on the report, Ministry of External Affairs sources said on Friday, “It appears to be a clearly motivated piece which seeks to paint a picture of India’s nuclear programme, which does not tally with facts at all.”
In an investigative report by Adrian Levy, author of widely-acclaimed book on Pakistan’s nuclear programme —Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, it said the nuclear city is located in Challakere, nearly 260 km from Mysore.
The “nuclear city” could upgrade the country as a nuclear power and unsettle its neighbours Pakistan and China, the report said. “India’s close neighbours, China and Pakistan, would see this move as a provocation: Experts say they might respond by ratcheting up their own nuclear firepower,” it says.
This report was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit, non-partisan investigative news organisation in Washington DC.
It said New Delhi has never published a detailed account of its nuclear arsenal, which it first developed in 1974 and there has been little public notice outside India about the construction at Challakere and its strategic implications. “The government has said little about it and made no public promises about how the highly enriched uranium to be produced there will be used. As a military facility, it is not open to international inspection,” it said.
“But another, more controversial ambition, according to retired Indian government officials and independent experts in London and Washington, is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in new hydrogen bombs, also known as thermonuclear weapons, substantially increasing the explosive force of those in its existing nuclear arsenal.”