A recently declassified US State department intelligence report has revealed that India was in a position to develop nuclear weapons as early as 1964. The report dated May 14, 1964 released on Wednesday by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project said that political environment in India during that time for undertaking nuclear weapons development was more favourable.
“The Indians are now in position to begin nuclear weapons development if they chose to do so,” it said. However, the report further mentioned that Americans had no evidence, of a weapon research and development programme.
“It may be that in the series of decisions involved in such a weapons program, the Indians have deliberately taken the first–to have available, on demand, unsafeguarded weapons grade plutonium, or at the least, the capacity to produce it. The next decision, to begin weapons R&D could conceivably be taken at any time. While this would involve a major political decision, the political environment in India for undertaking nuclear weapons development appears to be more favourable now than it was a year ago,” the report said.
Report said fuel core of the Canadian-Indian Reactor (CIR) at Trombay was being changed every six-months raised questions about India’s nuclear objective – a six month period was quite short for ‘normal research reactor operations’ – but it was the optimum time for using the CIR’s spent fuel for producing weapons grade plutonium.
-More at TheNewIndianExpress