RC out, tk God; Saraswat in?

Those acquainted with my writing are no doubt aware of my antipathy for Dr. R Chidambaram, erstwhile Chmn, AEC, and for the last decade, S&T adviser to the PM whose removal has been advocated by me post-1998 tests. He has been the greatest retardant of the nuclear weapons program — by placing it in the no-testing mode. He’s finally gone, and good riddance. What little good he did do — by calculating the equation of state for the fissile material in our n-weapons was long ago frittered away by his dogmatic championing of the “no need for more N-tests”-thesis, which has been lapped up great many in the policy Establishment and the commentariat, who are a little too mindful of the American don’ts than is good for the national interest.

That the former scientific adviser to the PM V Saraswat’s name is being bandied about as RC’s replacement is problematic for three reasons: (1) He is absolutely innocent of any intimate knowledge of N-weapons/warheads, (2) lacking any technical insights of his own, he has blindly toed the RC line — and believes that software and simulation is enough to make modifications in the failed thermonuclear design (S-1 tested in 1998) and to render the extant fusion arsenal credible. The third reason is in a generic sense similar to RC’s — he’s wedded to the idea of the ballistic missile defence system, he being the chief promoter of this project. Physics, as I have argued, is against the BMD, but Saraswat has managed to keep this exorbitantly priced project funded by making wild promises of superior performance that cannot be supported by the orchestrated tests DRDO has conducted so far. It has screwed up the country’s deterrence posture. As S&T adviser he’ll ensure a lot of good money goes down that sinkhole. It’s one of the many projects that India cannot afford, and ought to be if not shut down altogether, continued with as only a technology demonstrator.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Defence Industry, DRDO, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian ecobomic situation, Military Acquisitions, Missiles, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Nuclear Weapons, South Asia, Strategic Forces Command, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to RC out, tk God; Saraswat in?

  1. Arun Vishwakarma says:

    RC’s exit should be celebrated in India with Deepawali festivities. A new dawn for India.

    Great position often gives rare opportunity, and messing it can cause great misery to lot of people across many generations. RC did not even plan contingencies to meet strategic Indian objective when that rare opportunity was given to Indian defense scientists by the PM to test to realize necessary weapons that will deter potential adversary from all 360 degree. In my view his little contribution paled in the shadow of Indian failure to prove & demonstrate high yield arsenal that is meaningful for Indian defense. This when he had all the time, people and facilities to check & cross check. At Pok2 a contingency lower tech high yield non-TN device test was a MUST; to be used if the superduper TN egg fizzled. Strategic deterrence required irrefutable demonstration of high yield device/warhead.

    What a loser. Good riddance.

    IMHO for the great disservice he has done to Indian interests due to his ineptitude handling of responsibility, long time ago I had advocated in anger that every Indian citizen owe him a kick in the b***.

  2. RV says:

    I have always held RC in awe. Even Nature temporarily suspends physics laws for him. Was he removed (I mean “given the boot”), or did he opt out to partake in “bigger and better things” like Track-II diplomacy with Pakistan, etc….? BTW, Mr. Karnad, you’ve stated “Physics, as I have argued, is against the BMD,…”. Could you please shed some light on this matter? Finally, Saraswat isn’t as bad as has been painted in the article. The A-5 and other systems were developed and tested when he was at the helm of DRDO.

  3. Itanium says:

    I don’t know if anyone would take us as a serious nuclear power when we Indians ourselves don’t buy into the ” We did 45kT partially successful test & we can build 400kT weapon” theory.

    In the end I believe India has a deep organ deficiency [Not just Chidambaram] that makes it shoot its own foot. Countries are dying to get hold of nuclear tech and test them, and we here threw all our proven potential away despite paying full price in terms of sanctions [and what not].

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