Smiling Buddha, the code name of Pokhran – I test started India’s journey towards becoming a nuclear power. However, the acceptance of our country as a full-fledged nuclear state came with the success of Pokhran-II tests. Named ‘Operation Shakti,’ the tests were carried out in utmost secrecy. This defining moment of India’s history is also considered as CIA’s biggest failure who were trying to stop us from becoming a nuclear power.
Extensive planning and a closed group ensured the success of this project. Very few people were aware of its existence. Even the scientists went to the test site in Pokhran disguised as Army personnel.
Recently, a movie called ‘Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran’ was released. It’s a fictional narrative of the incident. Before seeing the film, don’t you know about the real-life men who transformed this mission into a reality?
1. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
During the test, he was Scientific Adviser to the prime minister and was also the Head of the DRDO. This humble genius contributed a lot in pushing India to enter the exclusive club of space powers. Not only that, he was actually the driving force behind our country’s nuclear capability. He played intensive political and technological role during this phase.
2. Dr. Anil Kakodkar
With extraordinary competence in his field, he was a part of the core team of architects during both nuclear testings. He also headed the team that developed Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor Technology.
3. Dr. Rajagopala Chidambaram
This Indian physicist is one among the small group of scientists involved in all the nuclear tests conducted by India. He played the role of Chief designer while developing the weapons. He also assisted the Indian Army in the test site. He initiated the project to build supercomputers in India.
4. Dr. K. Santhanam
He is actually the one who acted as a liaison between DAE and DRDO, two scientific organizations of our country during Operation Shakti. His efforts helped India in being a nuclear weapon state. Further, he increased our defense strengths by enhancing our electronic warfare game.
5. Dr. M. S. Ramakumar
This mechanical engineer is also known for being an outstanding roboticist. He’s the key player who gained fame for developing robotic and automation technologies for India’s nuclear projects. With his team, he developed online fueling and coolant channel inspection systems for Pokhran II project.
6. Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Under the 10th Prime Minister of India, Shakti series of tests were conducted that raised India to the status of being a nuclear state. The entire project was carried out secretly and he was the one holding the helm of the ship that led us to this great success.