India - Plutonium Investigation n°10

The Bomb Behind Nuclear Power

On 11 and 13 May 1998, India proceeded to test five nuclear weapons underground at Pokhran in the Rajasthan desert. India had until then always officially denied that it would produce or possess nuclear weapons. At the same time, everyone was aware India was a "threshold" state and that it could carry out these tests any time. Pakistan - the neighbouring other threshold state - reacted quite quickly and proceeded to its own test series at the end of May 1998. Since then, both countries have declared that they would put an end to nuclear testing. India had previously also tested a first 'device' in 1974, but had claimed it was a "Peaceful Nuclear Explosion". .

While western countries criticised - with more or less force - these tests, it is clear that they are very much responsible themselves for the accession of the two Asian countries to nuclear weapons. Close collaboration with these countries concerning nuclear power and 'knowledge transfer' have enabled the development of nuclear technology - both for civil and military purposes. But at the same time, even today, governments and the nuclear industry are trying to go on with trade, business-as-usual concealing the fact that this very assistance will continue to fuel the development of nuclear arsenals in a politically highly unstable region.

The present issue of Plutonium Investigation focuses on India, and gives information on the plutonium industry as well as on other aspects related to nuclear proliferation. A future issue will focus on Pakistan.

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