Delhi: India is building a top-secret facility in southern Karnataka to improve its nuclear power for civilian use, according to a report in an international magazine 'Foreign Policy'.
The secret city in Challakere could 'upgrade' the country as a nuclear power and unsettle its two major neighbours - Pakistan and China, Foreign Policy magazine said in an investigative report.
The city when completed in 2017 would be "the subcontinent's largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities", the report said.
Further the magazine wrote: "Tribal pastureland was blocked off with a barbed-wire fence at Challakere for a project that experts say will be the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons and aircraft-testing facilities when it’s completed, probably sometime in 2017. India's close neighbours, China and Pakistan, would see this move as a provocation: Experts say they might respond by ratcheting up their own nuclear firepower."
“But another, more controversial ambition, according to retired Indian government officials and independent experts in London and Washington, is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in new hydrogen bombs, also known as thermonuclear weapons, substantially increasing the explosive force of those in its existing nuclear arsenal,” as per the magazine.
Further, Foreign Policy lists - expansion of government’s nuclear research, production of fuel for India’s nuclear reactors and helping country’s fleet of new submarines - as project's primary aims.
The magazine adds - “Pakistan, in particular, considers itself a military rival, having engaged in four major conflicts with India, as well as frequent border skirmishes. However, Western knowledge about how India’s weapons are stored, transported, and protected, and how the radiological and fissile material that fuels them is guarded and warehoused — the chain of custody — remains rudimentary."