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 Organisation (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.