Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, stated in his farewell press conference, “The tests were adequate. We believe whatever the scientists tell us. The scientists said the tests were enough and tested. We believe the scientists, as they provide us with nuclear capability.” Clearly, he accepted no responsibility for these weapon systems. This is uncharacteristic of military ethos where any weapons system that the services induct, whether imported or indigenous, is put by them through rigorous testing before acceptance. They are then accountable for the achievement of results. The services did not take the word of DRDO scientists in the case of the Trishul missile, which was finally rejected.
General Ved Malik, who was the army chief at the time of Pokhran-II, termed the recent revelations shocking and said that it affects the armed forces, because when they plan the task given to them they have to know what kind of yield each nuclear weapon has.
Unsaid in these comments by two former service chiefs is that they bear no responsibility for the reliability, safety and operational potential of these weapons systems. That is to be borne by the scientists — who, we see, have their differences. While this leaves India’s nuclear deterrence between two stools, the armed forces by their meek acceptance must also share responsibility.
A BANG AND A FIZZLE- Doubts about India’s nuclear deterrence may be well-founded- Brijesh D Jayal
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