On the 19th anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear test, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday lauded former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee for showing “courage” in continuing with the tests despite facing international sanctions against India. The prime minister’s website posted excerpts of his earlier speech on the nuclear tests. “The world is well aware of the Pokhran tests. Under Atalji’s leadership, successful tests were carried out and the entire world was witness to India’s might. The scientists made the nation proud.”
Recalling how Vajpayee proved his mettle as PM, Modi said, “After the first series of tests the world community placed sanctions on India. On 13th May 1998, Atalji again called for tests, thus showing that he was made of a different mettle. If we had had a weak PM, he or she would have got scared on the same day. But Atal ji was different. He did not get scared.”
PM Modi also heaped praise on the people of Pokhran for remaining silent on the issue at the time of the tests. “People of Pokhran must be lauded for maintaining silence during entire duration when the tests were planned and conducted. They placed interest of the nation above everything else,” PM Modi said.
Hence to mark India’s scientific prowess and technological advancement, May 11 is commemorated as National Technology Day. “Greetings to everyone, especially our industrious scientists and those passionate about technology, on National Technology Day,” Modi tweeted.
“We remain grateful to our scientists & the then political leadership for the courage shown in Pokhran in 1998,” he added.