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Thread: Indian Nuclear Testing

  1. #1
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Indian Nuclear Testing

    With the Indian establishment slowly making its way into the international consensus regarding nuclear issues; there has been tremendous pressure on the Indian government to refrain from signing any pacts (the Indo-US nuclear pact almost had the government toppled and political alliances shifted upside down) or deals which will put conditions on India's nuclear ambitions. Recently, a top Indian scientist has come out and has openly called the '98 nuclear tests a "failure", and has said that India should not sign the CTBT, but rather carry out another series of tests to fine-tune their bombs. Politically motivated or not, the '98 tests were indeed below par, and further testing is indeed required. But is it feasible to carry out another series of nuclear tests? And what will be the repercussions?
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

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    It is important to notice about what he said.

    He said that given that the international observers/scientific community do not believe India has a TN,then lets show them we do... by carrying out a test!

    India's weapons are meant for deterrent.Deterrent in the eyes of adversary.

    What is the point of "hiding" a TN capability when the adversary strongly believes India doesn't have it! You loose the objective of a deterrent.

    The whole nuclear deal by the US was with the objective to prevent a Indian test and get India into CTBT.

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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    n21

    Another scientist has come out:

    Call for more India nuclear tests


    By Zubair Ahmed
    BBC News, Mumbai

    India should conduct further nuclear tests to establish itself as a true nuclear power, the former head of India's main nuclear body has said.

    PK Iyengar told the BBC that he made it clear in 2002 that India's nuclear tests were inconclusive and ambiguous.

    His comments come as atomic scientist K Santhanam, who was associated with India's 1998 nuclear tests, said they were not as successful as claimed.

    This was dismissed by the government and former colleagues.

    The Indian tests led to similar tests by Pakistan, raising fears of a nuclear conflict between the two countries.

    Endorsement

    "If India wants to declare itself as a nuclear power and confirm to the military that you have all the means of designing a thermo-nuclear device which can go into a missile, which can be dropped from an aircraft or can be launched from a submarine, you need many more tests," Mr Iyengar, the former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), told the BBC.

    Mr Iyengar also said that India's 1998 nuclear test was not a deterrent against China, though it was against Pakistan.

    "The Chinese are aware of it and that should be a worry for India," he said.

    Mr Iyengar's endorsement of Mr Santhanam came soon after the latter's claim was dismissed by the Indian government.

    On Wednesday, Mr Santhanam claimed that the "yield in the thermo-nuclear device test was much lower than what was claimed".

    He said one of the tests - on a hydrogen bomb - had not worked and that India would have to carry out more tests for a credible nuclear deterrent.

    Mr Santhanam is a respected Indian atomic scientist who was project director of the 1998 nuclear tests.

    His remarks on India's nuclear capabilities sparked protests from the government as well as some fellow scientists.

    The government swiftly dismissed the claim saying it was based on no scientific evidence.

    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Call for more India nuclear tests
    Seems the top scientists do want more tests; IIRC, was India not suppose to conduct more nuclear tests in 2002 to iron out the wrinkles of '98 tests? I think that series of tests was cancelled by Vajpayee.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n21 View Post
    It is important to notice about what he said.

    He said that given that the international observers/scientific community do not believe India has a TN,then lets show them we do... by carrying out a test!

    India's weapons are meant for deterrent.Deterrent in the eyes of adversary.

    What is the point of "hiding" a TN capability when the adversary strongly believes India doesn't have it! You loose the objective of a deterrent.

    The whole nuclear deal by the US was with the objective to prevent a Indian test and get India into CTBT.
    I think the problem was not with the tests themselves. Indeed, we should have done more to get our designs correct and to gain data for future simulations.

    The problem was in going to the rooftops and bragging about it. Our military capability was not enhanced by the open declaration and all we did was goad the irresponsible kid next door and buy a gun from a vendor too willing to supply one.

    Recall that the US satellites and others hadn't cottoned on to the fact that we had conducted tests till we went ahead and told them. Given the low yield nature of the tests, I do not believe they would have come to actively investigate either.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    Mr Santhanam is a respected Indian atomic scientist who was project director of the 1998 nuclear tests
    Wasn't Santhanam intially from RAW? I thought his job was to prepare the test site, not really to conduct the tests.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    I think the problem was not with the tests themselves. Indeed, we should have done more to get our designs correct and to gain data for future simulations.

    The problem was in going to the rooftops and bragging about it. Our military capability was not enhanced by the open declaration and all we did was goad the irresponsible kid next door and buy a gun from a vendor too willing to supply one.

    Recall that the US satellites and others hadn't cottoned on to the fact that we had conducted tests till we went ahead and told them. Given the low yield nature of the tests, I do not believe they would have come to actively investigate either.
    err... seismic data? Everyone knew we had tested.

    Second goading Pakistan into blowing up a Chinese bomb was a good idea. Post late-80s the working assumption was that Pakistan had a device. Would you want to test that premise at the cost of a Bombay or Delhi?

    Our problem is in our capacity to be so apologetic about our genuine needs. China is a threat. In the aftermath of the collapse of the SU a credible deterrent of our own is a need. Everything else is irrelevant. A nations first calling is to protect its people. Screw the nuclear deal.
    "Of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most." - Thucydides

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    Senior Contributor Knaur Amarsh's Avatar
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    Senior Contributor Knaur Amarsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    Wasn't Santhanam intially from RAW? I thought his job was to prepare the test site, not really to conduct the tests.
    He was the technical intel chief before being deputed to DRDO, but he was a scientist all through, nuclear physicist.
    When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? - George Canning

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    First and foremost Santharam made sure that no government signs the CTBT.

    It is no surprise given that the PM is suppose to visit US in couple of months. Most probably or not he is walking into a trap where he would be asked to declare India's intention to ratify CTBT.

    Now if US is going to ratify CTBT next year,I would want to bet that US will carry out "safety test" before it is done.So what Santharam has done is ,if US test before signing CTBT, India will/needs to do the same!

    Plus given that North Korean testing might also been a factor.

    Antimony,
    It is an open secret that the second stage of the TN device failed.

    Because of India's nonsense "moratorium",it's deterrent is going to be very expensive due to lack of a sub mountable TN warhead.
    Last edited by n21; 29 Aug 09, at 12:07.

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    Senior Contributor Knaur Amarsh's Avatar
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    N21,

    Considering that the govt. has discredit Dr.Santhanam's opinion, I don't think he can regarded as having made sure no govt. signs the CTBT. Besides, no govt. would sign the CTBT in the foreseeable future, our official stance has always been that CTBT is discriminatory in nature and we will not sign it, and that is true of both the NDA and UPA, so I don't think the Dr.'s objections factor in on this issue. He does have a valid pov, and it should be taken into account should need be felt for further testing, but regardless of his opposition to the treaty, we wouldn't have signed it anyway.
    When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? - George Canning

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    nebula82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chankya View Post

    Our problem is in our capacity to be so apologetic about our genuine needs. China is a threat. In the aftermath of the collapse of the SU a credible deterrent of our own is a need. Everything else is irrelevant. A nations first calling is to protect its people. Screw the nuclear deal.
    Bingo, yes, absolutely.

    India has nothing to worry about militarily versus Pakistan as the former is ahead of the latter by light years.

    But India needs a credible nuclear deterrent to keep China in check and to stop further Chinese encroachment. So signing the CTBT is putting India’s security interests at stake. India is stronger and more confident than in 1998 so testing should continue until India is at the technological level of the US, UK, Russia and China.

    India shouldn’t listen to the West and feel pressured into signing the CTBT. The US and the West have their own interests in Pakistan and China, and they’ve already reached a level of military/nuclear advancement that puts them in a strategically comfortable posture.

    National pride and security is at stake so I hope for ONCE the government does the right thing.

    Nebula82.

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    nebula82's Avatar
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    Also, wouldn't further nuclear testing improve India's nuclear propulsion capabilities (for the subs and even aircraft carriers down the road) and India's nuclear triad capabilities?
    Last edited by nebula82; 29 Aug 09, at 14:47.

  13. #13
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    I'm going to post here instead of the other site I was invited to.

    The only reason why India would need to test again is ego. Not out of any military necessity for two reasons.

    1) India's arsenal is deterrence, not war fighting. You start fighting a nuclear war and you've already lost that fight before it began. The Chinese can blanket India with 178 nukes initially and 500 more within 6 months and they've already got the rockets, 1600 of them at last count.

    2) Unless you're going for hardened targets (which you would need alot more nukes and a lot more accurate missiles), then the current yields are perfectly fine against soft targets. Ok, 12kts is not as impressive as 200kt or even 1 megaton but 12kts can destroy water treatment and sewage. Cholera can kill people just as dead as a nuke blast.

    12 kts brought an entire empire to its knees.

    This is deterrence, not warfighting. And in fact, we don't seperate nukes into fission or fusion weapons. All armscontrol systems count warheads whether they be thermonuclear or fisson. They're one and the same as far as everybody on earth is concerned, especially people wearing the uniform.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebula82 View Post
    Also, wouldn't further nuclear testing improve India's nuclear propulsion capabilities (for the subs and even aircraft carriers down the road) and India's nuclear triad capabilities?
    Two different technologies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nebula82 View Post
    India has nothing to worry about militarily versus Pakistan as the former is ahead of the latter by light years.

    But India needs a credible nuclear deterrent to keep China in check and to stop further Chinese encroachment.
    No comment about the CTBT or the nuclear tests. But is what you say really true? Is India "light years" ahead of Pakistan? Consider that the Pakistanis manage to keep a 2:3 force levels on the ground. They even have some qualitative edge in niche areas, like say SPA. Plus they have only one external enemy to focus all their attentions on. India can capably defend itself and give Pakistanis a bloody nose, but it is no position - conventionally speaking - to knock them out. To be "light years ahead", in my book means to be able to knock them down and drag them out in the dust.

    <my_two_cent_rant>IMHO, as Kargil and numerous Pak-backed terrorist campaigns show, India has yet to come up with a credible nuclear deterrence against Pakistan - let alone China. And for a enemy whose decision-making factions are possibly infected with ideological rabies, only the threat of immediate and maximum retaliation can hope to wake the more sensible enemy and help them restrain their brothers. If India can come up with a credible detente with Pakistan, it is more than likely that India will get real credibility with the Chinese.</my_two_cent_rant>

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