SAARC officials to discuss common satellite proposal next week

SAARC officials to discuss common satellite proposal next week

SAARC officials would meet in New Delhi next week to discuss details of the proposed common satellite envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are having a meeting of representatives from SAARC countries here on June 22 to discuss the satellite proposal,” Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told Deccan Herald here.

India’s insistence on the SAARC satellite was an attempt to reclaim the satellite launch space it had lost to China, Europe and the United States.  Pakistan and Sri Lanka have put their satellites in space with help from China, while Afghanistan leased transponders from France’s Eutelsat 48D. Bangladesh is collaborating with an American firm to launch its own satellite Bangabandhu-1.

Surprisingly, SAARC nations ignored India even as Western countries queued up at ISRO’s doors to put up their satellites at competitive rates. On July 10, ISRO has scheduled the launch of Disaster Management Constellation -3 satellite of a British firm. The successful launch of PSLV C-23, coupled with the feat of putting a bunch of foreign satellite into space from Sriharikota on June 30 last year prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak of a greater cohesion among SAARC nations and having a satellite for the region.  ISRO officials said the idea is to launch a communication satellite which member nations could use for disaster management, tele-medicine and education.

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