Let's know about India's Pokhran Nuclear Test in 1974

'Operation Smiling Buddha' was the first Nuclear Test done by India. It is red-letter day for all Indians as it is a landmark in India's technological journey. Let's know the story of India's first successful nuclear test.

Aditi Nag
New Update

May 11 holds a special significance for Indians. The day is marked as a historical event as it catapulted India into the league of nuclear nations. It also laid the foundation for the observance of National Technology Day.


'Operation Smiling Buddha' was the codename of Pokhran's 1st Nuclear test. It took place on 18th May 1974 in Pokhran, Rajasthan. This program took place on Buddha Purnima and so it was named Operation Smiling Buddha. It took nearly 2 years for India to prepare for this program. Pokhran 1 was also the first confirmed nuclear weapon test by a nation outside the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at the time.

The primary motive behind the Pokhran 1 test was to demonstrate India's self-reliance in nuclear technology and declare its strategic independence in the face of regional and global security challenges. That day, the Rajasthan desert reflected India's indigenous scientific prowess and technological capabilities to the world. 



The visionaries behind this program were Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Dr. Homi Bhabha, who is regarded as the Father of India's Nuclear Power. With the dedicated efforts of prominent scientists, Dr. Raja Ramanna, Dr. Abdul Kalam, and Dr. Satinder Kumar Sikka, the aspiration of India to enter an elite group of nations that possessed nuclear capabilities was made possible. India also faced a series of sanctions by the United States which said that such tests can lead to nuclear proliferation.


The impact of Pokhran 1 echoed worldwide, prompting global reactions and reshaping the dynamics of international relations. It paved the way for consecutive upgrades and advancements in nuclear technology and strategic principles.

This encouraged and motivated India to conduct a nuclear test again at the same location. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pokran 2, a series of five nuclear explosions, took place in 1998.

On National Technology Day, we commemorate India's success and the immense hard work undertaken by Indian scientists to realize the vision of self-reliance and independence, to be counted among the superpowers of the world. We remember the spirit of innovation and celebrate achievements in science and technology, with the Pokhran-I test serving as a milestone in our pursuit of knowledge, progress, and excellence.

indira gandhi Pokhran Nuclear test nuclear power first nuclear test Pokhran 1 Pokhran 2 Atal Bihari Vajpayee Operation Smiling Buddha