Smiling Buddha Operation
India had its first nuclear explosion in May 1974. If we understand the domestic and international events from 1970 onwards, we can easily understand the compulsion of the Indian government’s decision to make nuclear explosions.
In 1973, the Yom-Kippur War was started between Arab states and Israel. The USA has supported Israel. To take the revenge of US support to Israel, the OPEC i.e. Oil Producers and Exporting Countries imposed oil embargoes. The oil embargo had raised the prices of crude oil sharply in the international market.
It led to economic turmoil in India resulting in high inflation. Many agitations were going on in the country around this time, including a nationwide railway strike. To divert the attention of people from economic distress, the Indian government might have taken the decision to explode a nuclear test in 1974.
Similarly, there was also another reason. The reason was the Non-Proliferation Treaty i.e. NPT. The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective was to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. Opened for signature in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970. There was pressure on India to sign on the NPT treaty. Once India became a signatory to the NPT, she could not conduct the nuclear test later on. So, it becomes expedient for India to conduct a nuclear test to circumvent the NPT.
To conclude, India’s nuclear tests were domestic as well as an international compulsion. It was given the code name of Smiling Buddha Operation.