Defence scientist K Santhanam flashed the Victory sign at a photo op in 1998, indicating that it was mission accomplished: India's Pokharan experiment was successful. Today, Dr Santhanam says the hydrogen bomb failed.
It's a lonely claim, and one that has been dismissed angrily by the government. So why is the retired scientist going public 11 years later with this revelation?
Santhanam claims, "Very, very simple. In Science, things are not static. As more information becomes available and data is revisited, this is the process, and Science progresses. The initial thing was related to what is called quick-look data after the tests were conducted...the actual measurements were lower than claimed."
But Santhanam has now backtracked in at least one aspect: he acknowledges India has atom bombs, which work.
"The main thing was a fission bomb that worked like a song, so India's deterrence is assured to the extent of a fission bomb. The thermonuclear one did not meet the expectations. There is more homework to be done. Let's be honest, look into the data, revise, improve and if the opportunity presents conduct more tests. I am through..." And with that, Dr Santhanam ended the interview to NDTV abruptly.