C. Raja Mohan in The Indian Express:
Sethna’s career in atomic energy began in the late 1940s, when young Indians dared to dream about “big science” and “complex engineering.”
It was a time when only a few rich and powerful nations could think of building nuclear energy and space programmes.
With little experience and limited resources, Sethna and his band of atomic scientists showed, armed only with commitment and imagination, that India could catch up with the big powers in the mastery of frontier technologies.
Young Sethna was in charge of two crucial building blocks of India’s nuclear programme. One was the Canada India Reactor (CIRUS), built during the late 1950s and the other was India’s first reprocessing plant completed in the mid 1960s.
CIRUS provided the technological basis for the first stage of India’s nuclear power programme based on natural uranium reactors. The second gave India the capacity to produce plutonium, without which there would be no nuclear weapons programme in India. More:
A nuclear interaction
K. Subrahmanyam in The Indian Express:
When I think of Homi Sethna, my mind goes back 31 years to the day in early April 1979 when I flew down to Mumbai to hand over to him a sealed cover containing the handwritten minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) signed by the cabinet secretary, Nirmal Mukarji. It was in my handwriting and had one sentence: “The Cabinet, having considered the issue, gave appropriate directions to the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.”
Two days earlier the CCPA under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Morarji Desai considered the report of the Joint Intelligence Committee, of which I was the chairman, setting out its assessment that Pakistan was on its way to produce a nuclear weapon with enriched uranium obtained through the centrifuge process. Though I was the additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat and the official minutes writer, I was not present in that highly hush-hush meeting. Apart from the five cabinet ministers, the prime minister, Foreign Minister Vajpayee, Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram, Home Minister H.M. Patel and the Finance Minister Charan Singh, only three officials were present. Mukarji, V. Shankar, secretary to the PM, and Sethna, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). After the meeting, Mukarji dictated the minutes to me to be put on file to get approved by the PM. Though Morarji Desai, according to Mukarji, was against initiating any action and he was supported by Vajpayee, the other three ministers wanted the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to commence research for a weapon. After Morarji Desai approved the minutes, Mukarji instructed me to deliver the handwritten minutes personally to Sethna in Mumbai. More:
Previously in Asian Window: The story behind India’s first nuclear test