New Delhi: It was the nuclear weapons tests that were carried out at Pokhran in 1998, that many observers believe was the germination point of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
However, the UPA Government, which staked so much on the deal, does not seem to be prepared to acknowledge the defining moment, which perhaps set it all up.
The Government will cold shoulder the 10th anniversary of the nuclear tests at Pokhran, with which India declared itself a nuclear weapons power.
The agencies involved in executing the Shakti Series of nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998, have been told not to have any public commemoration of the event. Those closely associated with the event are disappointed.
Key Pokhran Test Planner, K Santhanam says, "Those nations that do no remember their heroes are not cultured nations."
The BJP sees this as deliberate denial of credit by the Congress-led UPA Government.
BJP Spokesperson, Prakash Javdekar says, "We gave Indira Gandhi credit, but Congress does not want to see anything beyond the Gandhi family."
So, while the Pokhran legacy becomes politically contested, the irony is that of the near consensus on nuclear weaponisation among successive governments
It was Nehru who firmly put India on the path of nuclear powerdom. Narasimha Rao almost achieved it. And from being a critic of nuclear weaponisation, Vajpayee actually detonated the bombs to declare India a nuclear weapons power. The question, then is: Should a national achievement be given a political colour?
In the middle of this political wrestling match, even military victories are being given political affiliations.
The UPA revived commemoration of the 1971 victory, while Kargil has been consigned to the background. And in ignoring Pokhran, the Government may just have lost out an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to national security.