India successfully tested its nuclear bombs in Pokhran in Rajasthan in May 1998. Since then, May 11th has been considered as a day of significance in India's scientific timeline and is being observed as the National Technology Day.
Pokhran-II nuclear power anniversary for India: May 11th is observed as the National Technology Day in India. It is celebrated to honour India’s scientific inventions and advanced technological achievements. May 11th is also extremely important for India for the feat it achieved in showcasing its nuclear power. On this day, in 1998, India successfully tested its nuclear bombs in Pokhran in Rajasthan. Since then, May 11th has been considered as a day of significance in India’s scientific timeline. India has also carried out several other tests like the Trishul missile, test flying of indigenous aircraft Hansa-III on the same day. Apart from the initiatives in the defence sector, National Technological Day also honours India’s other technological and scientific development.
Here are all things you need to know about Pokhran-II
1. On 11th May, 1998, the Atomic Energy Commission along with the Indian Army carried out three contained nuclear tests at 3:45 pm and on 13th May, 1998, two other nuclear tests were conducted at 12:21 pm in the deserts of Pokhran in Rajasthan. The Operation was codenamed ‘Shakti’. Earlier, India had carried out its first nuclear tests in 1974 under the codename ‘Smiling Buddha’ under the leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
2. There were five explosions during India’s second nuclear tests that were carried out in 1998. Among the five nuclear bombs, the first one was a fusion bomb and the rest four were fission bombs. The first three bombs included 45 kt thermonuclear device, 15 kt fission device and sub-kt nuclear device. The other two which were tested on 13th May were also sub-kt bombs of power 0.5 kt and 0.3 kt.
3. The tests were carried out under the leadership of APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India and former Head of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). Other chief coordinators of the project were Dr R Chidambaram, former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Dr K Santhanam, former Chief Adviser, Technologies, DRDO and Dr Anil Kakdokar, former Director of Baba Atomic Research Center (BARC).
4. After conducting the tests, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressed the media and confirmed that there was no release of radioactive elements into the atmosphere. The Pokhran-II tests pushed Indian into the elite nuclear club and the tests were also was also seen as a boost for country’s defence forces.
5. Pakistan vociferously opposed India’s nuclear tests and issued a statement accusing India of starting an arms race in the sub-continent. Despite being immensely pressurised by US President Bill Clinton and Opposition Leader of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif went on to authorise nuclear tests. The tests by Pakistan were conducted on May 28th, 1998 and on May 30th, 1998, under the code name Chagai-I and Chagai-II.