Pokhran-II v/s Chagai-I


Pokhran-II consisted of five detonations, the first of which was a fusion bomb while the remaining four were fission bombs. The tests were initiated on 11 May 1998, under the assigned code name Operation Shakti, with the detonation of one fusion and two fission bombs.On 13 May 1998, two additional fission devices were detonated, and the Indian government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shortly convened a press conference to declare India a full-fledged nuclear state The tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states, includingJapan and the United States.

Many names have been assigned to these tests; originally these were collectively called Operation Shakti–98, and the five nuclear bombs were designated Shakti-I through to Shakti-V. More recently, the operation as a whole has come to be known as Pokhran II, and the 1974 explosion as Pokhran-I.

Efforts towards building the nuclear bomb, infrastructure, and research on related technologies have been undertaken by India since World War II. Origins of India’s nuclear program date back to 1944 when nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha began persuading the Indian Congress towards the harnessing of nuclear energy— a year later he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

In 1950s, the preliminary studies were carried out at the BARC and plans were developed to produce plutonium and other bomb components. In 1962, India and China engaged in the disputed northern front, and was further intimidated with Chinese nuclear test in 1964. Direction towards militarisation of the nuclear program slowed down when Vikram Sarabhai became its head and little interest of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965.

After Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, the nuclear program was consolidated when physicist Raja Ramanna joined the efforts. Another nuclear test by China eventually led to India’s decision toward building nuclear weapons in 1967 and conducted its first nuclear test, Smiling Buddha, in 1974.

Project Chief Coordinators-

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (later, President of India), Scientific Adviser to the prime minister and Head of the DRDO.
Dr. R. Chidambaram, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Atomic energy.
Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO)
Dr. K. Santhanam; Director, Test Site Preparations.
Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research
Dr. G. R. Dikshitulu; Senior Research Scientist B.S.O.I Group, Nuclear Materials Acquisition
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)
Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Director of BARC.
Dr. Satinder Kumar Sikka, Director; Thermonuclear Weapon Development.
Dr. M. S. Ramakumar, Director of Nuclear Fuel and Automation Manufacturing Group; Director, Nuclear Component Manufacture.
Dr. D.D. Sood, Director of Radiochemistry and Isotope Group; Director, Nuclear Materials Acquisition.
Dr. S.K. Gupta, Solid State Physics and Spectroscopy Group; Director, Device Design & Assessment.
Dr. G. Govindraj, Associate Director of Electronic an Instrumentation Group; Director, Field Instrumentation


Three laboratories of the DRDO were involved in designing, testing and producing components for the bombs, including the advanced detonators, the implosion and high-voltage trigger systems. These were also responsible for weaponising, systems engineering, aerodynamics, safety interlocks and flight trials. The bombs were transported in four Indian Army trucks under the command of Colonel Umang Kapur; all devices from BARC were relocated at 3 am on 1 May 1998. From the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the bombs were flown in an Indian Air Force’s AN-32 commanded by Squadron Leader Mahendra Prasad Sharma plane to Jaisalmer. They were transported to Pokhran in an army convoy of four trucks, and this required three trips. The devices were delivered to the device preparation building, which was designated as ‘Prayer Hall’.

The test sites was organised into two government groups and were fired separately, with all devices in a group fired at the same time. The first group consisted of the thermonuclear device (Shakti I), the fission device (Shakti II), and a sub-kiloton device (Shakti III). The second group consisted of the remaining two sub-kiloton devices Shakti IV and V. It was decided that the first group would be tested on 11 May and the second group on 13 May. The thermonuclear device was placed in a shaft code named ‘White House’, which was over 200 metres (660 ft) deep, the fission bomb was placed in a 150 metres (490 ft) deep shaft code named ‘Taj Mahal’, and the first sub-kiloton device in ‘Kumbhkaran’. The first three devices were placed in their respective shafts on 10 May, and the first device to be placed was the sub-kiloton device in the ‘Kumbhkaran’ shaft, which was sealed by the army engineers by 8:30 pm. The thermonuclear device was lowered and sealed into the ‘White House’ shaft by 4 am, and the fission device being placed in the ‘Taj Mahal’ shaft was sealed at 7:30 am, which was 90 minutes before the planned test time. The shafts were L-shaped, with a horizontal chamber for the test device.

The timing of the tests depended on the local weather conditions, with the wind being the critical factor. The tests were underground, but due to a number of shaft seal failures that had occurred during tests conducted by the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom, the sealing of the shaft could not be guaranteed to be leak-proof. By early afternoon, the winds had died down and the test sequence was initiated. Dr. K. Santhanam of the DRDO, in charge of the test site preparations, gave the two keys that activated the test countdown to Dr. M. Vasudev, the range safety officer, who was responsible for verifying that all test indicators were normal. After checking the indicators, Vasudev handed one key each to a representative of BARC and the DRDO, who unlocked the countdown system together. At 3:45 pm the three devices were detonated.


Reactions –

The United States issued a strong statement condemning India and promised that sanction…

would follow. The American intelligence community was embarrassed as there had been “a serious intelligence failure of the decade” in detecting the preparations for the test.[24]

In keeping with its preferred approach to foreign policy in recent decades, and in compliance with the 1994 anti-proliferation law, the United States imposed economic sanctions on India. 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 and credit guarantees to India, and requiring the US to oppose lending by international financial institutions to India.

From 1998–1999, the United States held series of bilateral talks with India over the issue of India becoming party of the CTBT and NPT.[26] In addition, the United States also made an unsuccessful attempt of holding talks regarding the rollback of India’s nuclear program.[27] India took a firm stand against the CTBT and refusing to be signatory party of it despite under pressure by the US President Bill Clinton, and noted the treaty as it was not consistent with India’s national security interest.

Canada, Japan, and other countries
Strong criticism was drawn from Canada on India’s actions and its High Commissioner.[28] Sanctions were also imposed by Japan on India and consisted of freezing all new loans and grants except for humanitarian aid to India.[29]

Some other nations also imposed sanctions on India, primarily in the form of suspension of foreign aid to India and government-to-government credit lines.[30] However, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia refrained from condemning India.

On 12 May the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated: “The Chinese government is seriously concerned about the nuclear tests conducted by India,” and that the tests “run counter to the current international trend and are not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.”.[31] The next day the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the statement clearly stating that “it is shocked and strongly condemned” the Indian nuclear tests and called for the international community to “adopt a unified stand and strongly demand that India immediate stop development of nuclear weapons”.China further rejected India’s stated rationale of needing nuclear capabilities to counter a Chinese threat as “totally unreasonable”In a meeting with Masayoshi Takemura of Democratic Party of Japan, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Qian Qichen was quoted as saying that India’s nuclear tests were a “serious matter,” particularly because they were conducted in light of the fact that more than 140 countries have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. “It is even more unacceptable that India claims to have conducted the tests to counter what it called a “China threat”. On 24 November 1998, the Chinese Embassy, New Delhi issued a formal statement





Pakistaan first public test of nuclear Its timing was a direct response to India’s second nuclear tests –


Chagai-I was Pakistan’s first public test of nuclear weapons. Its timing was a direct response to India’s second nuclear tests, on 11 and 13 May 1998. These tests by Pakistan and India resulted in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172 and economic sanctions on both states by a number of major powers, particularly the United States and Japan. By testing nuclear devices, Pakistan became the seventh nation to publicly test nuclear weapons.

Pakistan’s second nuclear test, Chagai-II, followed on 30 May 1998.

Several historical and political events and personalities in the 1960s and early 1970s led Pakistan to gradually transition to a program of nuclear weapons development, that began in 1972 Plans for nuclear weapons testing started in 1974 Chagai-I was the result of over two decades of planning and preparation, Pakistan becoming the seventh of eight nations that have publicly tested nuclear weapons.

The timing of Chagai-I was a direct response to India’s second nuclear tests, Pokhran-II, also called Operation Shakti, on 11 and 13 May 1998. Chagai-I was Pakistan’s first of two public tests of nuclear weapons.

Pakistan’s second nuclear test, Chagai-II, followed on 30 May 1998.

In 2005, Benazir Bhutto testified that “Pakistan may have had an atomic device long before, and her father had told her from his prison cell that preparations for a nuclear test had been made in 1977, and he expected to have an atomic test of a nuclear device in August 1977.

However, the plan was moved on to December 1977 and later it was delayed indefinitely to avoid international reaction; thus obtaining deliberate ambiguity. In an interview with Hamid Mir in Capital Talk which aired on Geo News in 2005, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand confirmed Bhutto’s testimony and maintained that PAEC developed the design of an  atomic bomb and had successfully conducted a cold test after building the first atomic bomb in 1983

 Location –
Koh Kambaran located in the Ras Koh Hills was selected in 1978. Due to widespread imprecise reporting which mentioned the Chagai Hills region prior toa the actual explosion, there is sometimes geographic confusion. Both the Chagai Hills and the Ras Koh Hills are situated in the Chagai District, but the Ras Koh Hills lie to the south of Chagai Hills, and are separated from the Chagai Hills by a large valley

 Reasons and decision

After India’s Pokhran-II tests on 13–15 May 1998, statements by Indian politicians further escalated the situation.[15] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif curtailed his state visit to Kazakhstan to meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and returned to Pakistan.

The decision to conduct tests took place at a meeting that Sharif convened with the Chairman joint chiefs, General Jehangir Karamat, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Ishfaq Ahmad, and Munir Ahmad Khan and members of the Cabinet of Pakistan. In talks with Sharif, the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, offered a lucrative aid package in an attempt to get Pakistan to refrain from nuclear testing, and sent high level civic-military delegations led by Strobe Talbott and General Anthony Zinni to Pakistan to lobby against the tests.

Popular public opinion in Pakistan was in favor of nuclear blasts. Information minister Mushahid Hussain was the first who argued for the tests in reply to the Indian nuclear tests. The Opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, spoke emphatically in favour of Pakistani atomic tests.

 Reactions –
The Chagai-I tests were condemned by the European Union, the United States, Japan, Iraq,and by the many non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations. The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1172, condemning the tests by both India and Pakistan. From 1998–99, the U.S. held a series of talks with Pakistan to persuade them to become party to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with Pakistan refusing amid a fear of lack of security commitment by the U.S. and the growing ties between India and the United States.

The U.S., Japan, Australia, Sweden, Canada, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran congratulated Pakistan where major celebrations took place. All new U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan was suspended in May 1998 though humanitarian aid continued The composition of assistance to Pakistan shifted from monetary grants towards loans repayable in foreign exchange.In the long term, the sanctions were eventually permanently lifted by the U.S. after Pakistan became a front-line ally in the war against terror in 2001. Having improved its finances, the Pakistani government ended its

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