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The P K Iyengar Chat

Dr P K Iyengar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, came in on a bunch of chatters who were both proud and concerned. But the good doctor was a little terse in his replies, understandably perhaps. He fielded questions about the nuclear devices, avoided questions that was out of his area of expertise.

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 7:54 IST)
Hi everyone, I'm here and if you want any explanation or opinion of yesterday's nuclear detonation, you're welcome.

Jayanti P Sarathy (Tue May 12 1998 7:54 IST)
Mama, I know you don't smile easily. But vannakkam all the same. My friends at the university say our scientists borrowed the technology for Monday's bombs from the Russians. Could this be true?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 7:56 IST)
Jayanti P Sarathy: Can't the Americans think independently? We have had more co-operation with America than with Russia. That is why Russians haven't prospered:-) I would have smiled if your picture was here!

V R Chari (Tue May 12 1998 7:50 IST)
Namaskar, Dr Iyengar. I believe what happened on Monday was the result of the seeds that you sowed during your sterling tenure as BARC director and AEC chairman. Sir, when did we master the technology for the H-Bomb?

Bala S Desikan (Tue May 12 1998 7:56 IST)
Good evening, Dr Iyengar. Why did it take 24 years to detonate a second bomb? Was it lack of political will or were our scientists not ready?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 7:58 IST)
V R Chari: The technology evolved out of our brain and hard work. Nobody has reserved with God all the grey matter. Hope you understand.
Bala S Desikan: It is a lack of political will. We could have done this 15 years ago.

Savita (Tue May 12 1998 7:58 IST)
Dr Iyengar, will the data generated by this tests be used for computerised simulations etc. using Param?

Simha (Tue May 12 1998 7:57 IST)
Dr.Iyengar, what really is the capacity of our bombs now ? I mean, are they powerful enough to destroy the world, if need be ?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:1 IST)
Savita: Well I'm not an expert on Param. Yes, computer simulation and benchmarking would be helped by data from this explosion.
Simha: India has never intended to use nuclear weapons on anybody. It has only a deterrence value.

Kavita Singh (Tue May 12 1998 8:2 IST)
Sir, would you say that in our nuclear capability, India is ranked sixth in the world? If yes, does it arm us enough to take on China?

pc (Tue May 12 1998 7:59 IST)
Dr. Iyengar, a technical clarification - could u describe the three devices, one was a trigger, one a fission device - was the third a fusion device?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:3 IST)
Kavita Singh: Why not, if we are considered a nuclear weapons nation?
PC: The first one is a low yield weapon, perhaps equivalent to a tactical weapon for field use. The second one is similar to Nagaksaki, the third seems to be a weapon which uses fusion to boost its power. I don't know the details.

PTI (Tue May 12 1998 8:2 IST)
Good Morning/evening Dr Iyengar, I am PTI (proud to be Indian). At the outset congratulations. Sir Where do we go from here?

A Kailasam (Tue May 12 1998 8:1 IST)
Dr P K Iyengar: Was there any occasion when the scientists at the DAE said "let us do it," and the political establishment has backed off.

Amit (Tue May 12 1998 8:1 IST)
Good Evening Sir, How will India tackle the trade sanctions applied by USA ? (in the worst case)

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:6 IST)
PTI: I believe the government has promised not to undertake any more tests. We are confident of using our capability when required.
A Kailasam: Yes, for the past 15 years or more we have been saying so.
Amit: We have survived the sanctions of the NSG group for so long that we are insensitive to it.

Princess (Tue May 12 1998 8:4 IST)
Vanakkam Mr Iyengar. Like in 1974, how did we manage to keep this explosion under wraps, away from the prying eyes of the sophisticated spy satellites and all that? Any drama in how this was carried out?

Master Hawk (Tue May 12 1998 8:5 IST)
Dr. Iyengar, "Can India now be considered a Nuclear Weapons State under the provisions of nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?"

Jayanti P Sarathy (Tue May 12 1998 8:4 IST)
Thank you, Mama. Yesterday, I read an interview on Rediff that the preparations for Monday's test began in 1995. Could this be correct? Did we plan a test and then surrender our plans when the Americans threatened us?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:9 IST)
Princess: This only means spying is not effective.
Master Hawk: I'm not a legal expert.
Jayanti P Sarathy: I don't think this is correct. The plans were continuously evolving over many years.

Kavita Singh (Tue May 12 1998 8:8 IST)
Sir, as a lay person -- could you kindly explain how many people (scientists/engineers) would have worked on this detonation and how many would have been there in Pokhran?

suresh (Tue May 12 1998 8:2 IST)
I believe that the chips for the Param super computers come from the US.. that being the case.. what would happen if the US stopped exporting these to us?

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:10 IST)
Kavita Singh: I don't know
Suresh: Potato chips will replace the US chips :-)*joking*

PoLi (Tue May 12 1998 8:10 IST)
How soon do you expect Pakistan to test their devices, now that they can claim they are liberated from constraints of peace?

neutron (Tue May 12 1998 8:10 IST)
dear sir What about US stance saying that we should not drag our feet on CTBT citing inherent capabilities of others' as a reason

A R K Rangan (Tue May 12 1998 8:10 IST)
Sir: Why did we need to explode the bombs yesterday? Was it to test our capability, our technology? I thought the Param would have allowed us to test it via computers, and there was no need for an actual test.

Dr P K Iyengar (Tue May 12 1998 8:13 IST)
PoLi: I don't know I can't make a guess.
Neutron: We want to make sure that they are truly interested in nuclear disarmament.

A R K Rangan: Well this was to probably establish our capability so that the users don't doubt us.

Questions Dr Iyengar didn't answer