Thursday, May 28, 2015

28 May 1998 - the day Pakistan became a Nuclear Power

28 May 1998 - a day in the history of Pakistan when Pakistan successfully conducted five nuclear tests in the hills of Ras Koh at Chagi, Balochistan and became became world’s 7th and Islamic world’s 1st atomic power. The underground tests at Ras Koh mountain range shook the entire mountains and dust could be seen flying as the nuclear might roared from below.

The nuclear programme of Pakistan was set into motion when India tested its first nuclear test at Pokhran in 1974 - a clear act of intimidation for Pakistan. Pakistan has since its independence in 1947 been threatened by India which had never reconciled with the division of the united India after the departure of the British. Both countries have gone to war thrice over the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir - an area of Muslim majority tacitly occupied by India with the British assistance and coercing the ruler of Kashmir to cede the state with India.

Later in 1970-71, India launched a major operation in the Eastern wing of Pakistan, which was detached from the mainland Western Pakistan by some 1,000 miles. This geographical isolation and many mistakes committed by rulers of the government of Pakistan, allowed India to give vent to a separatist movement which finally culminated into the creation of Bangladesh in December 1971.

And as as if this was not enough - the Indian intimidation oif the remaining portion of Pakistan continued and the first Indian nuclear test in 1974 was a step towards this direction. But Pakistan refused to be overawed and initiated its own nuclear programme, which had been able to make a breakthrough and was ready to carryout out its own nuclear tests as early as 1981-82 as joint venture of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Dr A Q Khan Research Laboratories. But the tests were pended for an appropriate and opportune time.

And the time came in May 1998 when India again carried out a number of nuclear tests to show its muscles and nuclear stamina to Pakistan. Perhaps this was the time Pakistan waited. Despite immense pressure form the United States, Pakistan pressed the button on 28 May 1998 to successfully conduct its own nuclear tests - five in number that showed state of indigenous development capability of its scientists in the nuclear field.

Pakistan post issued a commemorative stamp on the first anniversary of the nuclear tests on 28 May 1998, depicting the roar of the nuclear test from far under the mountains of Ras Koh.

Many object to the wisdom of the Pakistan nuclear programme - even the USA had promised an immense economic package to Pakistan if Pakistan had opted not to respond to the Indian tests earlier that month. But living next to a neighbour which had never reconciled witht he creation of Pakistan and a country maintaining a large army when its has no threat otherwise from any other country of the region answers the question. Although Pakistan and India cannot afford a nuclear war, but mere possession of the arsenal is a good enough deterrent to keep India at bay.

Video courtesy: ePakNews

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