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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Missiles, rockets used to divert attention from N-tests preps: Kalam

PTI  New Delhi, January 25, 2013
First Published: 11:32 IST(25/1/2013) | Last Updated: 11:53 IST(25/1/2013)

India had launched a series of missiles, rockets and dropped experimental bombs to divert attention of "snoopers" before conducting the 1998 nuclear tests, APJ Abdul Kalam, considered the father of India's missile programme, said on Thursday.

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These well-planned measures were taken to "divert the attention of snoopers" two days before the nuclear tests in Pokhran in the summer of 1998, the former President said.

Delivering the 7th RN Kao Memorial Lecture organised in New Delhi by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Kalam went down the memory lane about the anxious days before the nuclear tests during which the DRDO and his team worked over-time to make the tests successful in utter secrecy.

"An important event was to take place the next day. Multiple agencies were in action. The next two nights were dark nights with no moon light. The other side, the world was sleeping. At the Chandipur flight test range, a series of 12 Trishuls were launched. Almost every two hours one launch.

"At the Island range at stealth launch pad, a simulated Agni launch preparations were going on in high intensity. In Pokharan ranges, away from the action point, a number of rockets, PINAKA type, were put into action. At mid-day and evening, Air Force aircraft was bombarding with runway destruction bombs on experimental runways," he said.

The next day, Kalam said, India woke up to the news that three nuclear tests had been conducted on the same day and another two the next day.

"No one knew about it except three souls and their classified team... the whole event I described can be classified as more than a black swan," he said. 

Kalam also said it was the then prime minister PV Narasimha Rao who had asked him to make preparations for nuclear tests, just two days before the results of the 1996 general elections were to be announced.

But the elections went against Rao and the prime minister called Kalam and asked him to brief Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the prime minister-designate so that a "smooth takeover" of such a very important programme can take place.

"This incident reveals the maturity and professional excellence of a patriotic statesman who believed that the nation is bigger than the politicial significance," Kalam said.


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