By Ishtiaq Ahmad
At least two of the five nuclear tests conducted by India may actually be Israeli nuclear tests. The components for these tests, according to highly placed Western sources, might have been shipped to India in an Israel C-130 military transport aircraft that landed in India just two weeks before the Indian tests.
Pakistani government officials have received information from the United States, which is based on Pentagon sources, that American experts believed that the two low-yield nuclear explosion which took place at Pokhran were produced by a type of warhead that has been developed by Israel but not by India.
An Israeli C-130 military transport aircraft had landed in India just two weeks before nuclear tests took place. Israel has been sharing its nuclear know-how with India in exchange for being allowed to conduct its tests at Pakistan, thus avoiding an international outcry, the US Defence Department-based information reveals.
The possibility of Indo-Israeli collaboration in the Indian nuclear testing is further strengthened by the increased exchange of nuclear scientists and military officials of the two countries in the months preceding Indian nuclear tests.
There is an overwhelming evidence that India and Israel might have collaborated for the nuclear testing. Abdul Kalam, the head of Indias space programme, had also visited Israel . During this period, many Israeli technical also visited India, confirmed Munir Ahmad Khan, former Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Agency.
The two sub-kiloton tests conducted by India are meant to produce tactical nuclear arms, such as artillary shells, nuclear devices which Israel considers essential for the peculiar Arab theatre. Ami Ziv, Director Operations of the Israeli Atomic Energy, had also disclosed to this corespondent in Brussels that Israel would like to develop such nuclear devices whose radio-active effects are limited to neighbouring Arab countries and should not in turn have any harmful impact on Israel.
Since Israel has signed the nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the possibility of nuclear testing by Israel on its own territory after signing the CTBT can be ruled out. India, which yet to conclude the CTBT can therefore be the best place for Israel to test its tactical nuclear arms.
Mr. Ziv, who was also the head of the Israeli delegation during the 1996 CTBT negotiations in Geneva, was of the view that Israel had signed the CTBT only after it was confident that it does not need any nuclear testing.
The above quoted Pentagon information on an Israeli warhead test in Pokhran are further confirmed by an early 1990s investigative book on the Israeli nuclear programme, the Samson option, by Seymour Hersh. The publication that shocked the world had disclosed that Israel was in possession of some 200 tactical nuclear warheads, which, with its delivery vehicles, can hit places as for away as Central Asia and even Pakistan and Iran.
The book also disclosed that Israel received consistent help from Western powers, especially the United States, in expanding its nuclear reactor at Dimona. Israelis are believed to have acquired the capability to test thermo-nuclear devices, one that India claims it has tested at Pokhran.