Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi ordered the weaponisation of India’s nuclear capability in 1988 or 1989, the country’s first National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra asserted in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times.
Days before the 10th anniversary of the Pokhran-II nuclear tests, Mishra claimed that the May 11, 1998, tests conducted by the NDA government reflected continuity rather than change when posited with the Congress party’s approach.
“As I said, weaponisation was ordered by Rajiv Gandhi. But we had to test them (the weapons),” Mishra disclosed.
“The weapons could not have been made between April 8 and May 11,” he said, revealing that the actual decision to test was taken on April 7 or 8, 1998, by the Vajpayee government.
Mishra also revealed that the timing of the tests was triggered by the April 6, 1998, flight test of Pakistan’s Ghauri missile, or the North Korean No Dong. The decision to go for the tests was taken at a South Block meeting attended by Prime Minister Vajpayee, DRDO chief APJ Abdul Kalam and Atomic Energy Commission head R. Chidambaram, besides Mishra.
Mishra said that Pokhran-II and the Bush-Manmohan initiative were directly linked. “If we hadn’t tested, ...to get support from the major powers for our nuclear programme, we would have had to sign the NPT.”