20 Years Laters, India Has Come A Long Way

Pokhran II anniversary: Readying the store before lowering it for the nuclear weapons testing.

New Delhi:  India yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear tests, covering a journey from being a sanctions-hit country to getting a special waiver from the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group paving the way for signing civil nuclear deals with the US and several other countries.

India had conducted five underground nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998 in Pokhran in the Rajasthan desert and declared it crossed the nuclear threshhold.

Pakistan carried out nuclear tests a fortnight later.

The US and several other countries imposed harsh sanctions against India, denying it critical nuclear and space technology. Pakistan was also placed under sanctions.

India had faced international sanctions also after its first nuclear test in 1974.

One of the fallouts of the sanctions was that the country’s atomic reactors operated way below their capacity due to lack of fuel. The worst hit were the two boiling water reactors at Tarapur, that required enriched uranium as fuel.

On the National Technology Day, marking the anniversary of the 1998 tests, President Ram Nath Kovind yesterday said the tests demonstrated the country’s scientific capacity and political will and had a far-reaching impact on how the world came to see India.

After getting the NSG waiver, the US signed the historical nuclear cooperation agreement with India a decade later. India also reached…

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