Great stirmash in India’s political and nuclear weaponry circles today in the wake of one retired atomic bomb scientist’s declaration that a 1998 underground hydrogen bomb test was a failure – or at least partially so. Some outside monitors have suspected as much. The issue goes deeply to India’s self-image as a legitimate world power that merits full and honorable membership in the nuclear club. The former researcher is adamant. So are the denials from on top. The issue appears to be whether the test site explosion reflected only the atomic fission trigger’s detonation, or included significant thermonuclear fusion energy as well. The test – its preparations performed with deep secrecy and camouflage against US surveillance satellites, put nuclear relations between India and the US into a deep freeze from which it has only recently emerged.
It’s vital news there. Account have some of the feel of stories in the US and Great Britain back when the nuclear armament race between them and the Soviet Union was hot and was a regular station on the science reporter’s beat. For India and Pakistan it’s a mini-cold war. For the moment, most outlets in India are giving their ledes over to denials of the claim. The Tracker cannot find, and hopes someone forward to us, a link to the original story in which the assertion went public.
- Zee News – Linco Hills : Pokhran II tests not fully successful: DRDO scientist ; Filed from Hyderabad, it reports that this “has blown the lid off” India’s official claims of its nuclear weaponry prowess ;
- Indian Express: Pokhran II was a success, insists Naval chief ;
- Hindustan Times: Indian Hydrogen bomb was not a dud: Barjesh Mishra ;
- Times of India/ IST: Former NSA disagrees with scientist, says Pokhran II successful ;
- Thaindian – Manish Chand: Kalam defends India’s nuclear deterrence capability ;
- BBC – Sanjoy Majumder (from Delhi): India nuclear test ‘did not work’ ;