Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced the South Asia Satellite will be launched on May 5, describing it as “an invaluable gift” to its neighbours and said it is an important step to enhance co-operation with the whole of South Asia.
“Natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, 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,” PM Modi said in the 31st edition of his monthly radio broadcast, Mann Ki Baat.
The South Asia Satellite is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region made up of eight countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.Organisation (ISRO) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region made up of eight countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The Prime Minister said that the satellite launch is an example of the government’s maxim of “sabka saath, sabka vikas” and it is not limited to just the confines of India. “This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia,” he said.
Initially, the satellite was to be named SAARC Satellite but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.
“There should be cooperation of our neighbours and there should be development of our neighbours too,” he said. “On May 5, India will launch the South Asia Satellite. The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project,” the prime minister added.
Soon after taking over as the prime minister in 2014, Modi had made a unilateral proposal of India launching the satellite whose data would be shared with the eight SAARC countries for their development.
The satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of the South Asian region. It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home), certain VSAT (very small aperture terminal) capacity plus linking among the countries for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.
The satellite was initially proposed to be launched in December last year, but it got delayed.