February 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India
‘India has lost a worthy daughter’
New Delhi, February 1
In a message to US President George W. Bush, the Prime Minister said, “We convey our heartfelt sympathies at the tragedy which has overtaken the space shuttle Columbia. We mourn with you in this moment of grief and our hearts go out to the families of the bright young men and women who worked on the spacecraft.” “For us in India, the fact that one of them was an Indian-born woman adds a special poignancy to the tragedy,” he said.
Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi expressed deep shock at the shuttle tragedy and the loss of lives of seven astronauts, including Kalpana Chawla, whom he described as “a worthy daughter of India’’.
“It is an irreparable loss,’’ Dr Joshi, who was boarding a train to Allahabad tonight as word of the shuttle tragedy came in, said in a statement. “I share the grief with every fellow countryman in this hour on the untimely demise of Kalpana Chawla, a worthy daughter of India.’’
Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral tonight expressed shock at the death of Kalpana Chawla, saying that India had lost a “brave daughter” and the world a “great adventure scientist”.
“I never thought that something like this can happen,” Defence Minister George Fernandes said while reacting to the news about the death of Kalpana Chawla.
Meanwhile, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Kasturirangan has described as “tragic” the loss of space shuttle Columbia.
“It is a tragic development for the entire space community as well as the country,” Mr Kasturirangan told a television channel.
MUMBAI: Nuclear scientist and former Atomic Energy Commission chief R. Chidambaram today said he was very sorry to hear about the sad news about Kalpana Chawla and other astronauts in the space mishap.
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