A leading Indian nuclear scientist has said the yield from
The comments, reported Aug. 27 by The Times of India, touched off a debate that has lasted for weeks.
The Times quoted K. Santhanam, who had direct responsibility for the series of 1998 nuclear tests as a top scientist with India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), as saying, “Based upon the seismic measurements and expert opinion from [the] world over, it is clear that the yield in the thermonuclear device test was much lower than what was claimed. I think it is well documented and that is why I assert that
In a subsequent interview with the Indian Web site Rediff.com, Santhanam was asked about the timing of his comments. He cited the change of
During a Sept. 21 media briefing in Washington, Tibor Tóth, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, said it was “very encouraging” that the rebuttals to Santhanam were coming from within India and included people who were “even higher in the scientific echelon” than Santhanam at the time of the 1998 tests.
Among the officials arguing that the 1998 tests were a success was A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was head of the DRDO at the time and later became president of
Responding to Santhanam in an interview with The Hindu, Indian National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said, “As of now, we are steadfast in our commitment to the [nuclear testing] moratorium. At least there is no debate in the internal circles about this.” Asked about the prospects of joining the CTBT if other current nonparties, such as the
Observers inside and outside
The agreement entered into force last year, but several unresolved issues have blocked nuclear trade between the two countries.
One of the sources, who strongly supports the U.S.-Indian deal, said it is “possible, though perhaps unlikely” that the reprocessing agreement would be finalized before Singh comes to the
Also still unresolved are terms for
Agreeing on those arrangements has taken longer than it should have, the source said. There might have been some “miscommunication” that was not handled “expeditiously,” but the two sides are “definitely focused now” on resolving the issue, he said.
At a Sept. 25 press briefing in New York, Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, acknowledged that “there are still some steps that have to be taken” to “move forward” on nuclear cooperation. They include passage of nuclear liability legislation by the Indian parliament and the formal announcement of sites at which