Paki DARHT up

What’s a country to do if the international milieu, or one’s own self-constrained nature, prevents physical explosive tests. You do the next best thing to actual testing. Like, get yourself a Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility. Such a unit uses X-ray cameras to see just how a hydrodynamic shock to simulate implosion works — the process in effect of a fission bomb blowing, and study the integrity of this process in a fission bomb, or in the fission trigger of a fusion weapon. Technically this takes some doing. But, not if an all weather friend is supplying designs, expertise, and materials. As is the case with the DARHT unit the Pakistanis have succeeded in engineering and installing with, of course, China’s help and assistance, at Chaklala — headquarters, Strategic Plans Division — the Pakistani counterpart of the Indian Strategic Forces Command, the weapons directorate at BARC, and the nuclear cell in PMO rolled into one. It is expected to become operational by September-October this year. Boy, does that advantage Pakistan! And it shows just how serious the Pak Army is about that country’s nuclear security. Now turn your gaze homewards and what do we find? India has no DARHT, no inertial confinement fusion chamber, no nothing — not even computing speeds, but GOI still finds the situation hunky-dory! That same old — no need to test — canary continues to hold fort as S&T adviser to the PM — R Chidambaram, erstwhile chmn, AEC, the man singularly responsible for keeping the Indian boosted-fission and thermonuclear weapons sub-par, when he should have been the first person Modi ought to have unceremoniously dumped! This state of affairs about sums up the situation India is in today. India is forced to rely over much on Agni-5 (and technologies), a damned accurate missile at extreme range. The case made in govt circles no doubt prompted by this same Chidambaram is that, high accuracy means India can field just this one low yield but only proven warhead/weapon in our arsenal — the 20KT fission, and that this is more than adequate for the country’s strategic deterrence purposes! And to think the incoming Chinese DF-21mod2s will have a one megaton warhead, and nothing less than a fully performing 500 KT warhead. One is compelled to bury one’s head in a pillow, and moan. In the past, I called India’s approach “nuclear amateurism”. It is actually much worse, it is “nuclear fatalism”.

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, China, China military, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Missiles, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Pakistan nuclear forces, South Asia, Strategic Forces Command, Technology transfer, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Paki DARHT up

  1. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    In an earlier post about the Agni-V, you refer to unproven TN warheads with a design yield of about 175/275 kt being deployed alongside the proven fission warheads. Are these unproven warheads indeed part of our extent arsenal ?

  2. Rituraj Rao says:

    The data on Indian thermonuclear testing is doubtful but has not been discredited yet. For all practical purposes, the institution that has the actual data has refused to comment on this issue. So how do we assume that India doesn’t have thermonuclear weapons?? Credible evidence lacks both ways..

    • No, there’s too much evidence suggesting the S-1 fusion device misfired. And this had been evident to a few of use almost immediately after the tests.There are too many things to mention here, and it won’t be possible to do that. If you are interested, you should look up the section on the test-fizzle in my big fat book, Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security (now in its 2nd edition, 2005, 2002).

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