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Unfavourable wind direction delayed Pokhran tests by over 6 hours, recalls DRDO scientist

Unfavourable wind direction delayed the Pokhran nuclear tests by over six hours on May 11, 1998, a senior Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist said today.

The decision to defer the tests for a few hours was taken considering the winds might carry the radiation to inhabited lands or Pakistan. “The original plan was to detonate all the three devices at 9 am but unfavourable wind direction delayed the whole event.

“And according to the protocols of international conventions, the wind direction should not be towards other countries or inhabited areas. All waited for almost six hours for the wind direction to change,” said Manjit Singh, who was part of the team that conducted the tests, at a DRDO event.

The scientist recalled how the team did not want to wait in the control room of the tests anticipating that it would collapse due to the tremors caused by the explosion.

After the Pokhran tests, India had declared it had crossed the nuclear threshhold.

Singh joined the DRDO’s Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) as a junior scientist in December 1984.

He was given an award in 1998 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Singh took charge as Director, TBRL, on July 29, 2011.

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