To commemorate the National Technology Day (11 May), a conversation was held with the Former Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Dr. R. Chidambaram today. He was also the scientist involved in the Pokhran Tests of India. He was in conversation with IAS Literary Secretary, IAS Association, Rajasthan, Ms. Mugdha Sinha. The programme was held on the Facebook page of the IAS Literary Society, Rajasthan. During the conversation, Dr. Chidambaram spoke in detail about India as a nuclear power, nuclear plants operating and under construction in India, the future of nuclear energy, the Pokhran Tests I & II and technology foresight.
Talking about India as a nuclear power, Dr. Chidambaram said that nuclear power in India is highly developed and comparable to most of the developed countries in the world. Countries like India are looking for research development and an innovation ecosystem. India needs to become excellent in basic research, applied research, technology development, R&D-led innovation backed by high-quality manufacturing skills. India should have the ability to fight and win conventional wars, crush perpetrators of low-intensity conflicts, and with the capability for nuclear deterrence. Development without security is vulnerable and security without development is meaningless. The greatest advantage of recognized strength is not having to use it.
Throwing light on the 1998 Pokhran Tests, he further said that these tests were a culmination of outstanding team effort. It is universally recognized that India’s nuclear weapon development is based on self-reliance. The tests were successful in achieving their scientific objectives. The carefully planned series of tests gave the capability to design more confidently and build nuclear weapons from low yields. India needs to conduct a technical foresight analysis in fields of nuclear, space and defence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, rural development related technology, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and supercomputers.
Giving advice to children interested in pursuing science, he said: “Learn to always work on important problems. Try to learn from a teacher who is highly respected for his scholarliness and research. One can also listen to their lectures online. Have passion for what you do, examine your talent and maximise it. Lastly, always believe in India”