New Delhi: Today, India is observing the 46th anniversary of its first peaceful nuclear test in Rajasthan’s Pokhran, codenamed the ‘Smiling Buddha’. It was on May 18, 1974, that India displayed its nuclear prowess to the world by successfully conducting its first nuclear test. Also Read - National Technology Day: PM Modi Remembers the Historic Pokhran Test, Hails Indian Scientists & Engineers
Notably, the nuclear test by India made it the sixth country, the only one outside the five members of UN Security Council – US, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France, and China to achieve the feat, thereby establishing our country as a nuclear power.
Raja Ramanna, who was then the director of India’s premier nuclear research institute Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) supervised the crucial test which was conducted under the leadership of PM Indira Gandhi.
Here are some interesting facts about the test:
-India tested its first fission bomb, a nuclear weapon that had the explosion power similar to the bomb dropped by the USA in Hiroshima, Japan.
-The test was named ‘Smiling Buddha’ because it was conducted on Buddha Purnima that year.
-The message conveyed by Raja Ramanna, to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also said, “The Budda has finally smiled.”
-A team of 75 scientists and engineers, led by Raja Ramanna, PK Iyengar, Rajagopala Chidambaram, and others had worked on it from 1967 to 1974
-The test made international headlines because India had become the first non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to conduct such a test
Twitter celebrates the historic day
On the occasion, many leaders and citizens alike took to Twitter to remember the glorious day:
After the 1974 tests, India conducted five tests – three on May 11 and two on May 13, 1998 – again at the Pokhran test range.