Who started India's Nuclear Program?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addressing the startup of any nation's nuclear program, it represents an instant where political leadership and scientific leadership merge.  For example, Dr. Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves are largely credited with starting up America's nuclear program.  In the case of India's nuclear program, most believe that Dr.  Homi Jehangir Bhabha was the chief scientific leader who started India's nuclear programme.  Writing to the TATA trust, Dr. Bhabha began India's nuclear research institute.  Emerging out of the dust of Partition, Prime Minister Nehru sanctioned Dr. Bhabha's work as he was made the director of Indian Atomic Energy Commission.  Citing the work that Dr. Bhabha would be doing, Prime Minister Nehru concluded:

We must develop this atomic energy quite apart from war - indeed I think we must develop it for the purpose of using it for peaceful purposes. ... Of course, if we are compelled as a nation to use it for other purposes, possibly no pious sentiments of any of us will stop the nation from using it that way.

The program became the starting point for Indian nuclear weapon capacity, its nuclear program:  "On 3 August 1954 the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was created with Dr. Bhabha as Secretary. This department answered directly to the Prime Minister and has continued to do so down to the present day."  In this light, one can see Dr. Bhabha as being the starting point of the Indian Nuclear Program receiving much in way of encouragement from Prime Minister Nehru.

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