None other than India's own Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has raised alarm over the country’s capability to safeguard its atomic reactors. The enormity of the situation is plainly manifest as India is one of the largest recipients of nuclear technology from the world over. Criticism by any other quarter, however authentic, would have been slammed by New Delhi as a ruse to malign its image. It has been pointed out that the loopholes could cause radiation leakage and even a disaster on the scale of the Fukushima tragedy. Fears of proliferation are also among the possibilities expressed by the CAG, who warned about lack of legislative measures regarding disposal of radioactive material. Since radiation leakage did occur in a plant in Rajasthan, the criticism creates justified fears.

By this measure, New Delhi appears unfit to protect its arsenal, one of the reasons why it was initially, and appropriately, denied the civil nuclear deal by the US. The possibility of nuclear material falling into the hands of Indian extremist organisations is not a far-fetched possibility after the damning conclusion drawn by this report. Safety measures are needed primarily for all of India’s plants as it undergoes expansion of its armament programme but specifically for those located near heavily populated areas. The issue does not relate to India’s well being alone; any accident will pose a grave danger to neighbouring countries as well.