South Asia Satellite's launch: Countdown to begin on Thursday

Kristi Paul
May 4, 2017

The launch of the satellite, meant to serve the SAARC region, was announced by Modi during the SAARC summit at Nepal in November 2014.

The much awaited South Asia satellite, which PM Modi announced as a gift to India's neighbours, will be launched on Friday, May 5th.

India will be aiming to build on Asian diplomacy with the launch of the "South Asia Satellite" and will be hoping to rope in Pakistan to build new channels of communication to improve relations which has been under strain after several terrorist attacks which India blames on Pakistan including the volatile situation in the Kashmir valley which has angered Indian officials in New Delhi. Earlier named the SAARC (acronym for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) satellite, with the aim to integrate and benefit the nations involved in the project, it is reportedly slated to launch the satellite on May 5. "Natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact - this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region", the PM said. Three years on, the satellite, now renamed "South Asia satellite" after Pakistan opted out of the project, is set to take wings on May 5, taking Modi's space diplomacy to a new high. "There should be cooperation of our neighbours and there should be development of our neighbours too", he said. The satellite will provide different communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.

Prashant Agarwal, an IIT Kanpur-trained engineer and the point-person in the Ministry of External Affairs piloting the project, says, "Prime Minister Modi has actually extended his slogan Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas to Indias neighborhood essentially to service the needs of the poor in South Asia".

The 2,230 kg satellite is being built by the Indian Space Research Organisation. "And thats why I have proposed in front of you today that we offer a valuable gift to our SAARC countries through a SAARC Satellite launch so that we also become partners in their welfare".

However, each country has to develop its own ground infrastructure technology.

The nations participating in the project are India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan.

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