George Perkovich, in his book ‘India’s Nuclear Bomb’, clearly says Nehru tacitly approved India developing a nuclear bomb.
Nehru ensured that the Indian Space Programme and Department of Atomic Energy directly report to the PMO and not to any ministry. This ensured that approvals required for such programmes don’t get stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. These are clearly elucidated by Dr.Aravamudhan in his book ”ISRO: A personal history”. The more you read these, the more you understand the complexities involved and geo-political pressures in such programmes.( For more on political and global pressures, read ‘Ready to fire’ by Nambi Narayanan.)
Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Homi Bhabha and others who headed the prestigious missions, would not have achieved what they did, had it not been for the unhindered support of and access to the PMO.
So, starting from Nehru, Prime Ministers have played their role in the development of India’s space and atomic programmes.
However there were some who did absolutely nothing to further these interests. Let us not waste time talking about them.
Nehru prepared the ground, Indira Gandhi took it further, Rajiv Gandhi supported many initiatives, especially the Agni Missile Programme, Narasimha Rao lent full support though he backed off from Pokhran-II, Vajpayee fell head over heels to support these initiatives and Modi continues Vajpayee’s work.
Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves as much credit as does Indira Gandhi for Pokhran-I and Vajpayee for Pokhran-II. One can’t deny this to the current PM just because he is Narendra Modi, a man who sold tea once upon a time and hence doesn’t belong to the aristocracy.
The scientific establishment is the same, the institutions are the same, but the political and executive leadership is the one that changes and thus plays a decisive role in such missions. And the current one excels.
Kudos to India and her dedicated engineers, scientists and the honourable Prime Minister who had the spine to proceed with the test.#MissionShakthi