Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear tests or the Operation Shakti, India today (May 11) observes the National Technology Day.

The Pokhran nuclear tests, first conducted in 1974 and later on May 11, 1998, under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee are the most significant milestones in the history of India's technological innovations.

Vajpayee with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam during the Pokran tests
Vajpayee with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam during the Pokran testsExpress file photo

The National Technology Day was named by Vajpayee on this day as a reminder of India's finest technological achievements.

Operation Shakti

Coded named as 'Smiling Buddha', was conducted in May 1974 under Indira Gandhi's rule.

The second nuclear test, phase II of Operation Shakti was conducted in 1998. Called as Pokhran II, the test under the Vajpayee government, led by the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was a series of five tests of nuclear bombs.

On May 11, India thus tested its first successful Shakti-I nuclear missile in the Indian Army Pokhran Test Range, Rajasthan, hence the name 'Operation Shakti.'

Additionally, the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) had accomplished the test of Trishul missile on this day.

Post the nuclear tests in Pokhran, major countries including the USA and Japan imposed several sanctions against India.

Prime Minister remembers the day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took to Twitter, asserting on the importance of technology in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic on this year's Technology Day.

"Today, technology is helping many in the efforts to make the world free from COVID-19. I salute all those at the forefront of research and innovation on ways to defeat Coronavirus. May we keep harnessing technology in order to create a healthier and better planet," wrote Modi in his tweet.

"On National Technology Day, our nation salutes all those who are leveraging technology to bring a positive difference in the lives of others. We remember the exceptional achievement of our scientists on this day in 1998. It was a landmark moment in India's history," he added mentioning the Pokhran nuclear tests and asserted that the tests showed the "difference a strong political leadership can make."

PM Modi tweets on National Technology Day
PM Modi tweets on National Technology DayTwitter

Sharing an old video from his Mann Ki Baat programme where he once spoke on the Indian scientists and the tests, the Prime Minister posted "Here is what I had said about Pokhran, India's scientists and Atalji's remarkable leadership during one of the Mann Ki Baat programmes."

By observing the National Technology Day, India celebrates the groundbreaking achievements and valuable contributions of our scientists and engineers in this field. As the country continues to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of the scientists and researchers in India as well as across the globe are utterly inevitable.