About National Technology Day
National Technology Day is celebrated across India today to honour scientists and engineers. The beginnings of this national holiday, however, are less benign. May 11th is when the Indian Army conducted three nuclear tests at the Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan in the year 1998. The code name was Operation Shakti. There were two more nuclear tests on May 13th.
What is National Technology Day?
This militarisation of the Indian subcontinent was further reinforced with the first National Technology Day being celebrated on May 11th 1999. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hailed the nuclear tests as India’s entry into the group of nations considered the nuclear elite. India became the sixth country to join the ‘nuclear club’.
Apart from the nuclear tests, National Technology Day also marks other historic moments in science and tech albeit militaristic. For one, May 11th was when the first indigenous aircraft Hansa-1 took flight over Bengaluru. Hansa-1 was built for pilot training, surveillance, and reconnaissance purposes. On this day the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) also tested the surface-to-air Trishul missile, a short-range missile with a quick reaction time. Trishul has now been inducted into the Indian Army and Air Force as part of the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.