Pokhran Anniversary: India sets the goal of becoming a defence powerhouse


Defence News India: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Monday called for the nation to become self-reliant and a net exporter of defence technology as the country celebrated the 21st anniversary of India’s second nuclear test in Pokhran, Rajasthan 22 years ago.

India conducted 5 nuclear tests between May 11 and 13 in 1998 during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. The occasion has been celebrated as national technology day in India.

However, this year the National Technology Day largely went unnoticed as a nationwide lockdown precluded the celebrations.

“In the last five years, we have set new goals, and worked hard to formulate the right policy framework to achieve them. I am confident that you can see this change in every field of defence research, development and production,” Rajnath Singh said.

Rajnath Singh underscored the importance of having indigenous defence technology and manufacturing as the country still has the dubious distinction of the world’s second largest arms importer, as per the data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Centre.

“There is no alternative to indigenous technology and indigenous manufacturing,” Singh said. “We will be truly self-reliant only when India succeeds in becoming a net exporter instead of a net importer of technology.”

Defence minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will fully support the efforts made by the country’s scientific community in this direction.

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DRDO, Defence PSUs battle Coronavirus

In his video conference, he also highlighted the crucial role played by the DRDO and defence PSUs.

The minister said India’s defence forces and R&D efforts have contributed significantly in finding solutions to the challenges posed by this invisible enemy.

He said the DRDO developed more than 50 products in the last 3-4 months such as PPE kits, sanitiser dispensers, bio-suits to contribute in the country’s fight against the global pandemic of novel coronavirus.

“The indomitable spirit of our defence industry has increased the opportunity for mass production of these high quality products in record time,” Ranath Singh said.

Pokhran Nuclear Test anniversary celebrated as National Technology Day

Twenty-two years ago, India conducted 5 nuclear tests in three days, between May 11 and 13, 1998.

First three nuclear bombs were tested by India on May 11, one of them was a fusion device or hydrogen bomb, and the remaining two were fission devices or atom bombs.

Before the world could recover from these surprise nuclear tests, India conducted two more tests of fission devices of sub-kiloton capacity two days later. In a press conference, the Vajpayee government declared India a full-fledged atomic power on May 13, 1998.

This day is dedicated to the knowledge, talent and perseverance of our Indian scientists, particularly those who made valuable contributions in finding solutions for the country’s complex national security challenges,” Rajnath Singh noted.

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Rajnath Singh said the National Technology Day was an opportunity to take stock of the country’s technological advancements.

“If we want to emerge as a technological force then we should know what we should do,” he said. “Such introspection is necessary because science and technology have become the most important drivers of a nation’s economy.”

“The day reminds us all of the relentless effort made by the country to achieve self-reliance in developing critical technology, encourage innovations and maintain technology flow for product realisation,” added the defence minister.

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