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Indian Scientists On The Indian Nuclear Tests
Open letter
May 1998

In the last few days, India has conducted five nuclear tests, including the explosion of a thermonuclear device. The tests, which are claimed to have become necessary due to strategic compulsions affecting our national security, have also been claimed to be a major scientific and technological achievement.

We, scientists in various disciplines, while expressing our deep dismay and unhappiness at this action of the Indian Government, wish to point out the following:

The magnitude of the S&T achievement in conducting these nuclear tests should not be blown out of proportion. We recall that a significant part of the aura of achievement in nuclear weapons technology stems from the secrecy that surrounds its acquisition and mastery. It must also be seen in relation to other, sometimes greater, technological challenges like the designing, erecting and successful running of safe nuclear power plants. This is something we have been doing for a long time now, and we *are* justifiably proud of it.

These tests are bound to vitiate the atmosphere in the South Asian region, triggerring a nuclear weapons race in the region, exacerbating the tensions that already exist and making even more difficult the achievement of peaceful co-existence and co-operation amongst the peoples and the nations of this region. The Government of India has adopted the same cynical language as the nuclear weapon powers by claiming that these tests will contribute to disarmament.

These nuclear tests have undone the consistent position that has been taken over the years on nuclear disarmament. While making it clear that we had the relevant technological capability, India had nevertheless not taken the step towards weaponisation in order not to initiate a nuclear arms race in the sub-continent. At the same time, we had taken a firm stand against signing both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as well as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) because of their discriminatory nature. Strangely enough it is now argued by sections in the government as well as the media , that we should accept and sign the CTBT!!.

The country has been committed to an expensive weapons programme without a national debate. We do not see what immediate threats to national security `forced' this move, particularly when people's needs in terms of education, health, infrastructure and industrial development are urgent. The present Government had promised on assuming office that a debate on national security issues would take place, but has in fact initiated a sharp policy turn with wide-ranging implications without the slightest debate.

We wish to recall here, emphatically, the horror that is nuclear war. We stand firmly with the long tradition of eminent scientists who have consistently argued against the induction of nuclear weapons. The horrors of nuclear war cannot be forgotten, whatever pride we feel in S&T achievements, or whatever tactical calculations we make. After all, we still hear of the strategic `compulsions' that led to the bombing of Hiroshima, and many of us were disgusted by the way the American media turned the 1991 Gulf war into a show of technological supremacy. Moreover, can we feel happy and secure in a world in which every country feels proud of its nuclear weapons capability and is convinced of the deterrence tactic ?

Signed:

T R Govindarajan, Kamal Lodaya, Krishna Maddaly, Kapil Paranjape, Venkatesh Raman, R Ramanujam, Sudeshna Sinha, R Shankar, T Jayaraman, VS Sunder, G Rajasekaran, Madan Rao, G Baskaran, Tapobrata Sarkar, Arundhati Dasgupta, Vardarajan, Saurya Das, Subrata Bal, Sarasij R C, I Suresh, Radhika Vathsan, G V Ravindra, R Srinivasan, Dutta Sreedhar, K SrinivasThe Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India, D Indumathi, Pramathanath Sastry, Ashoke Sen, Joydeep Majumdar, Sujan Sengupta, D Shubashree, Anirban Kundu, Mehta Research Institute, Allahabad, India Jaikumar Radhakrishnan, Sumit R Das, Satya N Majumdar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India
Alok Kumar, Somendra M Bhattacharjee, Ajit M Srivastava,
Shikha Varma, Supratim Sengupta
Institute of Physics, Bhubaneshwar, India
Alladi Sitaram, V Pati, G Misra,
N S N Sastry, S Thangavelu, C Varughese,
S Ramasubramanian
Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore, India
Dipan Bhattacharya, Maitreyee Saha (Sarkar), Jyotsna Chatterje,
Asimananda Goswami, Binay Dasmahapatra, Sudeb Bhattacharya,
Manoranjan Sarkar, Amitava De, Kamales Bhaumik,
Swapan Sen, Pravat Kumar Gupta, Kallol Bhattacharya,
Netai Bhattacharya, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Sanjukta Ganguly,
Barnana Pal, Chandidas Mukherjee, Atri Mukharjee,
Raj Kumar Moitra, Kajal Ghosh Roy, Bijay Bal, Mohan Lal Chatterjee,
Harashit Majumdar, Padmanava Basu, Subinit Roy,
Polash Bannerjee, Asit kumar De, Triptesh De,
Gautam Ghosh, Debajyoti Bhaumik, Samir Mallick,
Polash Baran Pal, Brhmananda Dasgupta, Anjali Mukherjee,
Debasis Mitra, Kaushik Chatterjee, Ushashi Dutta-Pramanik
Pradipta Das, K. Chabita (saha), Tamal Sengupta,
Kasturi Mukhopadhyaya, Rupali Gangopadhyaya, Dilip Kumar Debnath,
Brahmananda Chakraborty, Jhimli Dasgupta, Sumana Roychoudhury,
Biswanath Chattopadhyaya, Sandip Sarkar, Somapriya Basu-Roy,
Indrani Roy, Indrajit Mitra, Debrupa Chakraborty,
Abhee K. DuttaMajumdar, Surasri Chaudhuri,
Subhasis Basak, Krishnendu Mukherjee, Rajen Kundu,
Somdatta Bhattacharya, Asmita Mukherjee, Sebanti Bagchi,
Bhaswati Pandit, Sheuli Chaudhuri, Jaya Pal,
Debashish Mukherjee, Mita Sen, Poonam Agarwal,
Shankhashubhra Nag, Amit Dutta
Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta, India
K V Subrahmanyam
SPIC Mathematical Institute, Chennai, India
Enakshi Bhattacharya
Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India
Ashutosh Sharma, Gauri Pradhan
University of Pune, Pune, India
Tapas Kumar Das, Indranil Chattopadhyay,
Subhradip Ghosh
S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta, India
Diptiman Sen, Arnab Rai Choudhuri,
Priti Shankar
Indian Institute of Science, India
Prabir Purkayastha
IEEE Computer Society, Delhi Chapter, India
D.Raghunandan
Centre for Technology & Development, Delhi, India
Amit Sengupta
Delhi Science Forum, Delhi, India
Mohan Rao
Community Health and Social Medicine, JNU, Delhi, India
Kamal Mitra Chenoy
JNU, Delhi, India
Dhruva Raina, Dinesh Abrol, Usha Menon,
Irfan Habib
NISTADS, Delhi, India
A P Balachandran
Syracuse University, U S A
Tabish Qureshi
Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India
Partha Bhattacharya, Dipankar Sarkar
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India
Parongama Sen
Surendranath College, Calcutta
Muktish Acharyya
Cologne University, Germany
Haranath Ghosh
Univ. Federal Fluminense, Brazil
Ansuman Lahiri
Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Arvind
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India
R. S. Chakrawarthy
IKP, Cologne University, Germany
Anurag Mehra, Rowena Robinson,
Bharat Seth
Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India
Subhasis Banerjee
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India
Others Include :
Anand Patwardhan



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