Pokhran-2 caught Pak unawares’

Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were “caught unawares” by a series of India’s nuclear tests in May 1998, despite claims of having informants in “almost every house” near the test site at Pokhran, nuclear scientist A Q Khan has said. In a column in ‘The News’ daily, Khan said he had “voiced criticism of the performance of our intelligence agencies” when then premier Nawaz Sharif held a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet on May 13, 1998, to discuss Pakistan’s options in the wake of India’s first three nuclear tests two days earlier.
“Despite their claims of having informants in almost every house in Pokhran, and their promises that they would inform us if India made any preparations for tests, we were caught unawares,” Khan wrote. “If we had 10 days’ notice, we could have prepared a matching response and detonated our devices in an hour.” During the meeting on May 13, 1998, Khan said he, then foreign minister G A Khan and foreign secretary S A Khan were “quite vocal” about conducting nuclear tests.

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