Pokharan II

Exact Match
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  Vajpayee Era
  1991 - 1998
  Pokharan II
  Kargil & after


Atal Behari Vajpayee, Pokharan HeroIt was a humid evening of May when a beaming Vajpayee came out of his residence to address a hurriedly convened press conference. Nobody had anticipated what the prime minister had in his mind. But what he announced left everybody sitting there flabbergasted. India had gone nuclear. In the deserts of Rajasthan, India had detonated two nuclear devices and a thermo-nuclear device. The world was shocked and the country was jubilant. Seldom Indians all across the globe had felt so proud of being an Indian.

Left wing organizations criticized the governments decision stating that there was no need of a nuclear bomb to a third world country like India. There criticism was highlighted by the fact that the nuclear explosions were indirectly directed against China, there ideological friends. The opposition Congress said that BJP should not take the credit for a nuclear India. It was the joint effort of the scientists, technicians and its previous governments that had shown result in Pokhran.

But the truth was far from it, after 1974 all the governments including the non-Congress one had dithered taking any decision on this regard under duress from United States of America. Top leaders of BJP had always been in favor of a nuclear India. It was an emotional issue for them. After assuming charge one of the first instruction, which Vajpayee gave to his scientists, was to go ahead with the five critical explosions needed to become a nuclear power.

The work began on a hushed tone; scientists from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were used to track down the path of American Spy Satellites. Darkness of the night was used to transfer the equipments to the site. Top ranking nuclear scientists of India reached Pokhran in various disguises. Ultimately the whole exercise yielded result on May 11, 1998 and on May 13, 1998 when Vajpayee declared a unilateral moratorium against further testing of nuclear device with the concluding explosion of two nuclear devices of low yield.

The entire hullabaloo, caused by the explosions, soon subsided, when strong sanctions were imposed against India by all the agencies on whose loans India heavily relied upon. The sanctions were meant to cripple India ultimately forcing her into reversing the decision to go nuclear. Undeterred Vajpayee went ahead and launched a resurgent India bond scheme that asked Non-Resident Indians to invest in India. The move was an instant hit, forex reserves started soaring. The world new India has remained unfazed by its sanctions and criticism, and a nuclear India is a reality, which they will have to ultimately accept.

Except Pokhran II Vajpayee’s second stint had no other sparkle. Internal dissensions and personal interests mired his government’s performance. The controversies created by Jayalalitha, a south Indian actress turned politician, became a bane in his neck. Indecision became a characteristic of his government, it seemed Vajpayee government was to end up meeting the same fate which previous non-Congress governments encountered. But Vajpayee’s decision to visit Lahore on a bus and Kargil war proved to be a boon in disguise.

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