As the world celebrating the golden jubilee of the human conquest of Mount Everest, a legendary Indian mountaineer and a CIA expert have come out with an authoritative chronology of how nuclear devices were planted atop high Himalayan peaks to monitor Chinese nuclear tests in the 1960s.
In an explosive book ‘Spies in the Himalayas’, the mountaineer, Capt Mohan Singh Kohli, who had led these expeditions to Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and other summits between 1965 and 1968, and CIA expert Kenneth Conboy chronicle the planting of nuclear-powered monitoring devices by the CIA with the help of intrepid climbers from India and the US.
That was the time when there were no satellites to monitor such developments from the sky.
One of the devices, which could not be planted atop Nanda Devi summit due to bad weather and was left cached on the mountain for the next expedition, went missing.
This caused serious concern about possible radioactive contamination of the environment and, in particular, the River Ganges.
Repeated searches could not retrieve the device which still remains missing, the book, published by Harper Collins, and said, adding that tests done subsequently at different spots indicated there was no cause for alarm.
The highly sophisticated and top-secret mission was kept under wraps for 38 long years, barring a “partial and inaccurate leak” made to a US magazine in 1978, which rocked the Indian Parliament at that time.