Operation Kahuta- When RAW Agents Almost Reached The Pakistan Nuclear Reactor

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India had Intelligence bureau to collect the INTEL of the neighbouring countries. After some years of independence, a need arose for an independent body which can handle the foreign intelligence smartly and accurately. So, came in picture, the Research & Analysis Wing(R&AW) whose sole responsibility was to take care of the national interests in foreign countries and also to spy on any activities happening against India in any corner of the world. With R.N. Kao, its first chief, India couldn’t have asked for more. R.N. Kao was a magnificent leader and his contacts were there in almost every south Asian nation and also in the western nations.

After operation Smiling Buddha, there was a continuous race of creation of nuclear reactors between India and Pakistan.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Pokhran after the first nuclear test (Operation Smiling Buddha) by India in 1974

Western countries opposed the nuclear test, even when India said many times that it was for a peaceful purposes. A western diplomat went on to say that there is no difference between a nuclear device and a bomb and India was met with severe criticism. India did not pay heed and went on to be a nuclear nation. It is so ironical that the nation who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were disturbed as to why India has nuclear plans even for peaceful purposes. The article was published on the dessert news on 22nd May, 1974.

The Deseret News – May 22, 1974 

The Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Munir Ahmad Khan was quoted in the article saying, “Pakistan might have to push for its own nuclear capablity in the light of India’s nuclear test”. It looked obvious that Pakistan is heading towards creation of its nuclear plan. As per the Nytimes, China provided the blueprints of the nuclear bomb and as well as the highly enriched Uranium and Tritium, they even passed the complete technology to Pakistan. US even trained Pakistan nuclear scientists from 1950-1970. China couldn’t wait when India tested their nuclear arsenal in 1974.

A Q Khan Research Laboratory

The India had an inkling of the Pakistan’s nuclear plans as India had a wide network in Pakistan by 1970s. There were spies who did not cared about their lives, and were into the sampling and establishing a nuclear indication in Kahuta. The challenge was how to crack it and establish that Pakistan is actually working on expanding its plans. They found a way, they tracked the nuclear scientists and went to the barber shops in Kahuta where these they got their haircut and stole the hair samples. The hair samples were analyzed and they indeed had radiation traces and India was sure that Kahuta nuclear plant was a plutonium refining plant and Pakistan was indeed developing their nuclear bomb.

An image of Pakistan nuclear plant in 2007 (Source Google)

Even Israel wasn’t happy with the Pakistan’s nuclear reactor and Pakistan was scared that Israel may bomb their nuclear reactor like they bombed Iraqi Nuclear reactor in 1981. There was an article in the Washington post that said India can raid Pakistan nuclear reactor. Few years before, around 9,00,000 CIA documents were posted online as they were declassifed.

Indira Gandhi with Zia-Ul-Haq

There was a conversations of Pakistan and India’s nuclear plan and how India was making plans to even bomb the nuclear reactor and Israel would be using The Jamnagar airbase to do that. The latter could not be proven but US already warned Pakistan of an Indian attack and US warned India to face any

According to Indian Express, some officers of the Indian Air Force in 1980s support an idea of an airstrike by Israel at Kahuta.

Morarji Desai

RAW did played a very important part. But the biggest mistake happened when Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai in a talk on telephone call told Zia-Ul-Haq that he is aware of Pakistan’s best kept secret. Zia-Ul-Haq was alerted and soon, all agents of RAW at Kahuta were killed and India lost all connections with Pakistan’s nuclear plan.

 

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