India to submit Saarc satellite proposal at next summit

Two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came out with the idea of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) satellite, the government is readying a proposal for the group’s upcoming Kathmandu summit in November.

The contours of the proposal have been kept closely guarded. “I cannot talk about the Saarc satellite at the moment. It is not right on my part. I will tell you later in an appropriate time,” Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman K Radhakrishnan told Deccan Herald.

Modi’s idea of Isro taking a lead on the Saarc satellite, sources said, came in the wake of an alert from the external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing that warned the government of China boosting space cooperation in India’s neighbourhood.

The communist nation in the last three years launched two satellites from Sri Lanka and Pakistan and signed an agreement for a third launch.

In November 2012, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation ferried a 5 tonnes communication satellite from a Sri Lankan private firm SupremeSAT (Supreme SAT-1) to the orbit.

Though Colombo distanced itself from the launch, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Rohita, played a key role in developing the satellite as he is the technical director of the firm.

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