On this historic day – 11th May 1998, India became a full-fledged nuclear state by conducting Operation Shakti. It was on this day, India successfully tested and detonated one fusion and two fission bombs. On 13 May 1998, two additional fission devices were detonated which marked India as the 6th nuclear state in the world after US (1945), Soviet Union (1949), UK (1952), France (1960) and China (1964). This was one of the greatest milestones achieved by our country as we were included in the exclusive nuclear club. The then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressed the press conference and declared that the Indian Army has conducted three nuclear tests in the Pokhran region of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. His words were:
|“||Today, at 15:45 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. The tests conducted today were with a fission device, a low yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests.||”|
However, the aftermath was not a smooth ride for India as it was subjected to a variety of sanctions imposed by the US government and other major states including Japan. The United States issued a strong statement condemning India and promised that sanctions would follow. The American intelligence community was embarrassed as it was ‘a serious intelligence failure’ of the decade in detecting the preparations for the test.
The sanctions on India consisted of cutting off all assistance to India except
humanitarian aid, banning the export of certain defence material and
technologies, ending American credit guarantees to India, and requiring the US to
oppose lending by international financial institutions to India. However, the
United Kingdom, France, Israel and Russia refrained from condemning India. But
despite these hitches, India ignored all the constraints and went on shoulder to
shoulder to establish its name as a global nuclear power. We are now the fastest
growing economy and the largest democracy.
Also, India became a space superpower by conducting Mission Shakti on May 27,
2019 with the capability to destroy the Low Earth Orbit satellites hovering on
space above us.After Operation Shakti, National Technology Day is observed every year on 11th of
May in India, acting as a reminder of the anniversary of Shakti and also
highlighting the important role of Science in our daily lives and encourages
students to embrace Science as a career option. Various events are organized in
different technical institutes and engineering colleges to mark the day.
Competitions, quizzes, lectures, interactive sessions and presentations of various
aspects of Science are managed globally. The day is crucial for engineers,
planners, scientists and others who are engaged in nation building and