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.


Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

Updated 09 December 2019

Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

  • Patrolling operations on respective sides are conducted by respective forces, military spokesman says
  • Last month, army chief visited Tehran for security talks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesperson on Monday rejected media reports suggesting that Pakistani and Iranian security forces conducted joint border patrolling.
“News published by Dawn today ('Pak-Iran Forces jointly conduct border patrolling') is factually incorrect,” Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said in a tweet.
He added that “there is no joint patrolling anywhere on Pakistani borders” as “patrolling operations if required are always on respective sides by respective forces through coordination.”

The English-language daily reported earlier on the day that Pakistan and Iran had conducted another joint patrol on the border near Taftan town in Chagai district, Balochistan.
Soon after Ghafoor's comment, Dawn's editor Zaffar Abbas clarified that “the confusion was caused by the official news agency APP, as the picture caption said ‘joint patrolling.’ Radio Pak also tweeted the same. But we will be carrying out correction in light of your statement.”

Border security has long been a major cause of distrust in Pakistan-Iran relations. 
In April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that the two countries would form a joint quick-reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, following a deadly attack on Pakistani security personnel on the coastal highway in southwestern Balochistan, where 14 soldiers lost their lives.
On Nov. 18, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Tehran for security talks with Iran's political leadership and military leadership.
In May this year, Pakistan began the fencing of certain areas along the 950-kilometer border it shares with Iran.