Gifting satellite to Saarc on Modi's wish list

Gifting satellite to Saarc on Modi's wish list

Calling upon Indian scientists to strive for enhancing the country’s space capabilities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday exhorted them to develop a Saarc satellite.

“Today, I ask our space community to take up the challenge of developing a Saarc satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood, as a gift from India. A satellite that provides a full range of applications and services to all our neighbours,” he said. Modi was addressing space scientists from the mission control room at Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, after witnessing the successful launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C23 mission.

Going further he said, “Such a satellite will be helpful in Saarc nations’ fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenges to progress in the scientific field. It will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of Saarc countries.”

Expressing the need for development of human resources, which will be critical to the future, Modi said, “I was very pleased to meet our young scientists here. I admire their work and their achievements. Let us link up with more universities and colleges, to develop our future leaders in this area. We must also involve our youth at large, with space.”

In the speech, which was made in Hindi and English, Modi asked young scientists to enlarge the footprint of the country’s satellite-based navigation system, to cover all of South Asia. A space technology buff, the prime minister said India should develop more advanced satellites with higher computing, imaging and transmitting power.

“We must also strengthen our international partnerships in all areas of space technology,” he added.

Pointing out that India has the potential to be the launch service provider of the world, Modi said, “We must work towards this goal. Construct the required new launch infrastructure. And extend our launching capabilities to heavier satellites.”

The space programme has come a long way from the days of rocket components being transported on bicycles and the country’s first satellite Aryabhatta, he said.

Adding that it has also become a cost-effective process now, he said in a lighter vein that Isro’s Mars mission had reportedly cost less than the making of Hollywood sci-fi film “Gravity”.

“Another is on its way to Mars as we speak. I personally follow it with great interest. We have also developed our own satellite-based navigation system. I am told this will be fully deployed by 2015,” he said, wishing scientists the best as they “prepare to put our spacecraft into the Mars orbit in a few months from now.”

Talking about the Geographical Information System (GIS), Modi said, “Our next frontier should be to extend the same to land records, bringing in accuracy and transparency for the common man.”

As for tele-medicine, he feels India should provide its benefits to Afghanistan and African countries.

“We must do more. Yeh dil maange more (the heart wants  more),” he said.

Modi also pitched for a state-of-the-art interactive digital space museum, which would help school and college students witness launches and visit space centres.

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