India’s PSLV-C27 takes off. (Source: ISRO)

Bitter Rivals Blast Off as Pakistan Enters Space Race With India

(Bloomberg) -- The rivalry between India and Pakistan seems to be extending into outer space.

“The first Pakistani will be sent to space in 2022,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Thursday, the same year that India is planning its first manned mission. Pakistan’s space agency, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, has “an agreement for this venture” with China’s Manned Space Agency, Chaudhry said.

While Pakistan’s financial capabilities for such a mission are seen as limited, the announcement still reflects the latest swipe between the two countries who have fought three wars since the partition of British India in 1947 and still trade fire across a de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The countries’ bitter rivalry is costing them $35 billion in annual trade, according to a World Bank report.

India has already conducted missions to Mars and the moon, and plans to spend $1.4 billion to send a crew of three to space by 2022, which would put it on track to become the fourth nation to send humans to space.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.