American nuclear analysts think that India may be considering some more nuclear tests to authenticate country’s arsenal before the door on nuclear explosions are finally shut down by Obama administration.
“You bet he wants to test again,” said Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of the Washington DC-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.
He was answering a query about the remarks made by a key Indian nuclear scientist, who negated India’s claim of success of Pokhran II, saying that India’s thermonuclear test was not up to mark.
“Imagine you are a nuclear weapons designer who has corrected the mistakes and ironed out the wrinkles. You would be crazy not to want to test again.”
“You have to look at the DNA of a weapons designer. They always want to make the weapons smaller, lighter, more powerful,” Sokolski added. “If you blindfold them, tie their hands and leave them in the middle of a forest, they will still make their way to a test site.”
It should be noted that Sokolski analysis is purely based upon the technology validation point, while Washington has long seen New Delhi’s nuclear weapons quest from the view point of geo-political objectives, not scientific or technological.
The argument has gotten another boost following the remarks by a key Indian scientist, K Santhanam, questioning the potency of India’s thermonuclear bomb.
The first reaction from US scientific and strategic community to Santhanam was “We told you so”, while there is a suspicion there that the revelation is politically motivated. It’s rare for Indian scientists to break ranks on a sensitive national security issue.
Why would Santhanam go public, with such deliberation, on something that was commonly discussed and widely acknowledged in scientific circles, a decade after the questions first surfaced?
According to some nuclear pundits, answer to the question is: To ward off growing American pressure on India to sign various nuclear containment treaties and perhaps enable India to conduct one last series of tests to validate and improve its nuclear arsenal.