New Delhi: A team of 36 scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre had prepared a Hydrogen bomb under the Rajiv Gandhi government to counter the threat posed by Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, according to documents declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States.
“A rapid series of Pakistani tests would compel New Delhi to develop nuclear weapons and touch off a nuclear arms race between the two,” the documents said.
Rajiv was not keen to follow in his mother’s footsteps, but on May 4, 1985 he said that India would have to review its nuclear policy in light Pakistan’s actions, according to the documents, The Economic Times reported today.
The H-Bomb was stronger than the one tested a decade earlier under the leadership of his mother Indira Gandhi, but it was never tested due to the fear of international reprisals, the documents said. “China and not Pakistan is perceived as a long-term threat to the Indian security.”
India next carried out nuclear tests in 1998 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, inviting sanctions by the Bill Clinton administration. In the eighties, the Ronald Reagan administration had considered sending an emissary to mediate between the rival neighbors.
The documents also said that India was ahead of Pakistan on nuclear technology and “extremely tight” security had made it difficult for the CIA to gather intelligence on the nuclear program.