Indian leadership endangering space, says Fawad Chaudhary

Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry during the interview with Arab News. (AN photo by Yazeed Alsamrani/File)
Updated 08 September 2019

Indian leadership endangering space, says Fawad Chaudhary

  • Indian Chandrayaan, a $145 million robotic moon mission, appears to have crashed on Friday
  • Pakistan minister calls Indian space ambitions PM Modi’s “political gimmickry”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhary, said Indian and Pakistani scientists were “very capable” but that the Indian leadership had endangered space through its recently failed lunar missions.
The latest, $145 million space mission, Chandrayaan, Sanskrit for “moon craft,” was launched in July this year, poised to make India the first country in the world to probe the unexplored lunar south pole. On Saturday, India’s space agency said it had lost contact with its spacecraft just as it was about to touch down. The cause of the failure is not yet known.
In March, India intentionally destroyed one of its satellites called ‘Shakti’ with a missile, in a move NASA described as “unacceptable” as the resulting debris posed a significant risk to the safety of astronauts on board the International Space Station.
“With the irresponsible attitude India have shown towards space, (India) is actually playing havoc with... humanity,” Chaudhary told Arab News.
“Once powered descent starts, we have no control over it,” Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said at his last press appearance on Saturday. “We have done all the simulation possible, for systems and subsystems, done whatever is humanly possible.”
Chaudhary said the larger issue was the political paradigm of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and called India’s space ambitions “political gimmicks.”
“Indian leadership is actually playing havoc with their own people. Our galaxies are delicate,” he said.
Pakistan announced in July that it would send its first astronaut into space by 2022.


Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

Updated 15 September 2019

Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

  • Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region
  • New Delhi last month to revoked the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status

SRINAGAR, India: Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, a senior government source said.
Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi’s controversial decision last month to revoke the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status.
Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of Internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India — mostly in the largest city Srinagar — have been constant, the source said late Saturday.
Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.
Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.
Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.
So far more than 4,100 people — including 170 local political leaders — have been detained across the valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the official said.
It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.
Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.
The relatives of four of those killed said they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths.
The latest updates came as police said Thursday that three men suspected of belonging to a Pakistan-based militant organization were arrested while transporting weapons and ammunition toward Indian Kashmir.
Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, which was split between the two countries in 1947.
India deployed extra troops ahead of the August 5 decision to reinforce some 500,000 soldiers already stationed in the region, one of the most militarized places on the planet.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday promised to raise the decision to strip Indian Kashmir of its autonomy at the upcoming UN General Assembly session.