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Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan

  • 12 Oct 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan of Pakistan passed away. He is hailed as the man who single-handedly ensured that Pakistan succeeded in making nuclear weapons. This was significant, as this made Pakistan an equal of India in terms of Nuclear Weapon state.

  • Due to this, he is revered in Pakistan as the “father” of the country’s “atom bomb” or Nuclear Hero.
  • However, the western world criticised him as a nuclear thief or "the greatest nuclear proliferator of all time”.

Key Points

  • About Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan:
    • In 1975, Khan, then working in Holland in a uranium enrichment facility as a German-Dutch translator, offered his services to then PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who wanted Pakistan to have its own nuclear programme.
      • He provided the first blueprints for Pakistan’s centrifuges, setting it on the path to uranium enrichment.
    • In 1976, he joined Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s nuclear weapons effort.
    • He was convicted by a Dutch court for the theft.
    • Also, he has smuggled nuclear secrets to states including North Korea, Iran and Libya.
      • For this, he was arrested and placed in a house arrest.
    • Due to his contribution, by 1998, Pakistan had conducted its first nuclear tests.
    • Pakistan honoured him with the titles of Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour) and Mohsin-e-Pakistan (Benefactor of Pakistan).
  • About India’s Nuclear Tests and Nuclear Doctrine:
    • In 1965, India with NAM countries proposed some principles to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the UN Disarmament commission. These are:
      • Not to transfer Nuclear technology to others.
      • No use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear countries.
      • UN security cover to non nuclear States.
      • Nuclear disarmament ban on the nuclear test.
    • In May 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test in Pokhran with the codename of "Smiling Buddha".
    • In 1998, five nuclear tests were conducted as a part of the series of Pokhran-II.
      • These tests were collectively called Operation Shakti.
    • In 2003, India adopted its Nuclear Doctrine of 'No First Use' i.e. India will use nuclear weapons only in retaliation against a nuclear attack on its Territory.
    • India possessed an estimated 156 nuclear warheads at the start of 2021 compared to 150 at the start of last year, while Pakistan had 165 warheads, up from 160 in 2020 (SIPRI Yearbook 2021).
      • Pakistan has not stated a “no first use” policy and there is little known about its nuclear doctrine.

Source: IE

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