Former president APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday revealed that India was all set to conduct nuclear tests in 1996 under Congress prime minister PV Narasimha Rao. Kalam’s revelation came while delivering the 7th R N Kao Memorial lecture in memory of the founder chief of RAW, India’s external intelligence agency.
Kalam said the tests weren’t carried out since Narasimha Rao lost the elections but he was called in to brief the PM-designate AB Vajpayee. “They were both patriots and I briefed PM Vajpayee about the proposed tests.”
The former president mooted the idea of setting up a single Indian Intelligence Services to create a pool of intelligence operatives. “Why not create a single Indian Intelligence Services? Recruit people from Special Forces for frontline operations,” Kalam suggested.
Speaking on the use of technology to improve intelligence gathering, Kalam told the Intelligence community that “mindsets need to change”. Terrorists might hold old ideologies, but they have not been able to use modern communication equipment. We should be a step ahead of them,” he said.
Kalam lamented that there has been “politics over physics,” but pointed out that turf wars can be effectively addressed if the best could be put “under one roof.” In conclusion, he pointed out the findings of his comparative study of three democratic nations and their level of threat — US, Israel and India.
While 9/11 claimed about 2,500 people, India continues to regularly suffer continuous casualties due to terrorism, he said. “But Israel and the US have made effective use of technology to counter terrorism. They believe to never forgive and never forget.”