Santhanam claim should be taken note of: Ex-AEC chief

Last Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2009 - 17:48

Bangalore: Former Chairman of Atomic Energy
Commission M R Srinivasan has said that ex-DRDO scientist K
Santhanam`s claim of the 1998 Pokhran nuclear test being a
"fizzle" should be "taken note of" and called for "evaluation
and examination" by country`s security and nuclear apparatus.

"The point made by Dr Santhanam needs to be discussed by
those who are in charge of the responsibility of ensuring the
country`s security," Srinivasan said.

"Dr Santhanam has made this statement and he stands by
it. Those who are currently responsible for the country`s
security and its reliability must take note of it and evaluate
what Dr Santhanam`s perceived objections are. It should be
done," he said in a telephonic interview here.

"This (point raised by Santhanam) has to be evaluated by
people who have access to all the information to find out
whether his reservations are genuine or not," Srinivasan said.

About his assessment of Santhanam`s claim, Srinivasan
said he has so far gone on the basis of assessment made by
R Chidambaram (the then Principal Scientific Adviser to
Government of India who led the team of scientists for
Pokhran-II) and former President A P J Abdul Kalam that the
test was successful and gave the necessary information that
India was looking for.

Asked if he thought the 1998 test produced "desired
yield", he said, "Based on the assertion made by Chidambaram
and Kalam, Yes".

Asked about former AEC Chief Homi Sethna backing
Santhanam`s claim, Srinivasan said he (Sethna) was his "boss
and commands a great deal of respect from all of us. He has
also expressed it. (One has to) take note of all these things,
definitely."

While calling for examination, Srinivasan said he did not
want the government to put all details of the test in the
public domain as certain specific issues could be
confidential.

But the government can get the point raised by Santhanam
examined by "people who are in the business (nuclear and
security apparatus), by experts who are in a position to
understand this business."

Srinivasan said he had chaired the meeting last month
where Santhanam made the claim that the thermonuclear device
(hydrogen bomb) "underperformed" and the test was a "fizzle",
which created a furore.

Srinivasan said that in his concluding remarks in that
meeting he had stated that "I (Srinivasan) still preferred to
go by the assessment made by Dr Chidambaram and Kalam that
the test was successful and we (India) obtained necessary
information to enable us to go ahead and design and build
nuclear weaponry".

"As of now, I prefer to go with the official position
that the claims of Dr Chidambaram and Kalam are valid," he
said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 3, 2009 - 17:48
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