New Delhi: In 1996, the then Prime Minister of India, PV Narasimha Rao, was all prepared to test the nuclear bomb, but then he handed the onus over to his successor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, since poll results were contrary to his expectations.
This was revealed by former president APJ Abdul Kalam at the 7th RN Kao Memorial lecture at the RAW headquarters here.
Kalam, the then scientific advisor to the defence minister, and his team of scientists had been asked by Narasimha Rao to be ready to conduct the test in 1996.
But after the results were announced Rao asked him to brief Atal Behari Vajpayee (PM designate) on the pending nuclear tests, Kalam said.
"I was the scientific advisor to the defence minister with two great leaders of our country.”
“I still remember that one night during May 1996, I got a call from the PM House that I had to meet PM Rao immediately. I had met him just two days before the announcement of General Elections results.”
“He had then told me —"Kalam be ready with DAE and your team for the N-Test. I am going to Tirupati. You wait for my authorization to go ahead with the test. DRDO-DAE teams must be ready for action."
“Of course the elections results was quiet different from what he had anticipated. I was busy in Chandipur Missile range when I got a call saying that I must meet immediately the PM designate Vajpayeeji with Rao.”
“I witnessed a unique situation. The outgoing PM, Rao, asked me to brief the details of the nuclear programme to Vajpayee so that a smooth takeover of such an important programme could take place."