Monday, September 21, 2009

The hydrogen bomb controversy

Today's Hindu carries an article about the controversy generated by Santhanam, in which M K Narayanan defends the government's position about the success of the thermonuclear test. Unfortunately, nearly all the points are pretty much untenable (unless he said something more, and it was not published). Samples:
The thermonuclear device had a yield of 45 kilotons. I have chosen my words carefully — 45 kilotons and nobody, including Mr. Santhanam who has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, can contest what is proven fact by the data which is there
I find it hard to believe that the DRDO project lead in charge of the whole thing (i.e. Santhanam) doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.
Asked about the doubt the former Army Chief, V.P. Malik, had raised about the efficacy of the hydrogen bomb, he said: “I think the person to answer that, is the present chief and not the past chief…”
Just because someone has retired from his post, he doesn't lose whatever credentials he may have built up over his career. Reading along:
“We have thermonuclear capabilities. I am absolutely sure. We are very clear on this point. If you hit a city with one of these you are talking about 50,000 to 1,00,000 deaths,” the NSA said.
Just saying so repeatedly will not cut it. Also, does anybody else find such casual mention of deaths more horrifying than Santhanam's statements?

One can understand where Narayanan is coming from: after all, proclaiming to the whole world that our hydrogen bombs are duds is not exactly good for the morale of the country and would cause our enemies quite a lot of satisfaction, but going after those who are interested in the truth doesn't serve any purpose, either.