Operation Hat: India US Combined Mission against China
The Operation Hat was a combined Secret Mission of US and India against China. It was started after the first nuclear Bomb Test made by China in 1964. The CIA (Central Investigation Agency) of USA has joined hand with IB (Intelligence Bureau) of India. The CIA with the help of IB made an expedition to the Himalayas and planted a monitoring station at the summit of Nanda Devi to keep an eye on the Nuclear Test program of China.
Reasons behind the Operation Hat –
- Poor Bilateral Relation between India and china was one of the main reasons..China defeated India in the Sino-India war of 1962. The victory of china showed its increasing military power that might be a threat to its neighbours.
- In 1964, China tested its first Nuclear Bomb in the Xinjiang province. A cold war was started between Eastern and Western Blocs as a result of increasing Military power of China.
- The Operation Hat was started in the month of October of 1965.
- Under the mission, CIA and IB joined hands to place a “Remote Sensing Device” on the Nanda Devi peak. Nanda Devi is one of highest mountain in India having 7816 m elevation in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand.
- The device was meant to track the Nuclear Activities conducted by China.
- The team, that was selected to make this expedition to the peak, consisted top climbers from US. Four Indian climbers, who made Everest expedition in 1962, were also in the team.
- The team was led by Manmohan Singh Kohli. They reached over 24000 feet of the peak in October, 1965.
- The team carried a Nuclear Generator. The Generator was named after a Buddhist God Guru Rinpoche by the sherpas.
- The team carried the disassembled monitoring station along with the SNAP Power Pack. SNAP stands for Space Nuclear Auxiliary Power Generator. It was a nuclear battery developed for American Civil and Military Space Programs originally.
- The team returned in the month of May, 1966 but the equipment along with the Plutonium capsules were missing. These capsules have the longevity of more than 100 years. It led a huge possibility of Plutonium contamination in the water of Ganges as southern slopes were considered as a major source of the Ganges water.
- In 1967, another expedition was made by the team. Manmohan Kohli, Sonam Wangwal, G.S Bhangu and H.C. S Rawat along with American climbers took part in the expedition. The team was able to install the second Nuclear Powered Station successfully on Nanda Devi peak. It worked approximately one year.
- A team headed by Rawat made an attempt to retrieve the second equipment in Nanda Devi and found that the hot generator had melted the ice up to 8 feet and placed itself in the middle of a spherical cave. Later the American troops carried away the faulty equipment in a helicopter.
Though the Operation Hat scored a success in 1967, it is believed the first SNAP was still in the mountain. It is believed by the nuclear experts that the SNAP generator would eventually disintegrate and release Plutonium into the head water of Ganges.
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