News



DATE=5/17/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232351
TITLE=INDIA / NUCLEAR
BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA
DATELINE=NEW DELHI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  TOP INDIAN SCIENTISTS SAY THE NATION'S NUCLEAR TESTS HAVE
PROVIDED VITAL DATA TO MATCH NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITH DELIVERY 
SYSTEMS.  THE SCIENTISTS SAY INDIA IS NOW ABLE TO MASS-PRODUCE A 
MEDIUM-RANGE MISSILE CAPABLE OF CARRYING A NUCLEAR WARHEAD.  
ANJANA PASRICHA HAS DETAILS FROM NEW DELHI.

TEXT:  SCIENTISTS IN CHARGE OF INDIA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM TOLD 
REPORTERS SUNDAY THE FIVE TESTS THEY HAVE CONDUCTED (SINCE LAST 
MONDAY) HAVE MADE THE COUNTRY CAPABLE OF COUNTERING ANY NUCLEAR 
THREAT FROM ABROAD.

THE CHAIRMAN OF INDIA'S ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, R. CHIDAMBARAM,
SAYS DATA FROM THE TESTS WILL GIVE HIS COUNTRY CAPABILITY TO 
DESIGN A VARIETY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. 

                     /// CHIDAMBARAM ACT ///

         THE TESTS CONDUCTED ON MAY 11TH AND 13TH HAVE PROVIDED 
         CRITICAL DATA FOR THE VALIDATION OF OUR CAPABILITY IN 
         THE DESIGN OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOR DIFFERENT YIELDS, FOR 
         DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS, AND OF COURSE FOR DIFFERENT 
         DELIVERY SYSTEMS.  THESE TESTS HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY 
         ENHANCED OUR CAPABILITY FOR COMPUTER SIMULATION OF NEW 
         DESIGNS, AND TAKEN US TO THE STAGE OF SUBCRITICAL 
         EXPERIMENTS IN THE FUTURE -- IF, OF COURSE, WE CONSIDER 
         THEM NECESSARY. 

                         /// END ACT ///

THE SCIENTISTS DID  NOT  SAY WHETHER INDIA POSSESSES NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS.  THEY DESCRIBE THE UNDERGROUND TESTS AS THE CULMINATION 
OF A "WEAPONIZATION" PROGRAM BEGUN YEARS AGO. 

EARLIER THIS WEEK, PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE SAID INDIA
IS A NUCLEAR WEAPONS STATE, CAPABLE OF BUILDING A BIG BOMB. 

THE HEAD OF INDIA'S DEFENSE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT 
ORGANIZATION, A-P-J ABDUL KALAM, SAYS INDIA IS INCREASING THE 
RANGE OF ITS INTERMEDIATE MISSILE, CALLED "AGNI," WHICH MEANS 
FIRE.  

THE "AGNI" PRESENTLY HAS A RANGE OF ABOUT 15-HUNDRED KILOMETERS. 
TESTING OF THE MISSILE WAS SUSPENDED FOUR YEARS AGO, UNDER 
INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE. 

MR. KALAM SAYS THE MISSILES CAN BE PRODUCED IN LARGE NUMBERS, IF 
NECESSARY.  THE WEAPON IS SEEN AS A POTENTIAL DETERRENT TO 
INDIA'S NUCLEAR-ARMED NEIGHBOR, CHINA.  NEW DELHI HAS CITED 
SECURITY CONCERNS IN ITS NEIGHBORHOOD AS THE REASON FOR 
CONDUCTING THE NUCLEAR TESTS.

THE SCIENTISTS SAY THE GO-AHEAD FOR THE NUCLEAR TESTS WAS GIVEN 
ABOUT FIVE-WEEKS AGO -- BARELY TWO-WEEKS AFTER THE B-J-P LED 
COALITION CAME TO POWER, AND SOON AFTER PAKISTAN TESTED ITS 
"GHAURI" MISSILE.   (SIGNED)

NEB/AP/TM/WTW/RAE

17-May-98 9:00 AM EDT (1300 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.