South Asia Satellite to be launched on May 5

Will address economic and development priorities

South Asia Satellite to be launched on May 5

India will launch South Asia Satellite on May 5, which will open up a new window to use space as a diplomatic tool to further consolidate New Delhi’s position in the strategically important Indian Ocean region.

“The South Asia Satellite is scheduled to be launched on May 5. It will go a long way in addressing the region’s economic and developmental priorities.

“The satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire (South Asia) region as it will facilitate natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, information technology connectivity and people-to-people contact,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme.

The idea of launching a satellite for India’s neighbours came from Modi almost three years ago, when he visited the Indian Space Research Organisation in June 2014, a month after becoming the prime minister.

In the last three years, the space scientists readied the communication satellite and secured regulatory approvals from the International Telecommunication Union, while the Ministry of External Affairs roped in Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives as its users.

Pakistan dropped out after attending a plan meeting whereas a formal agreement with Afghanistan is yet to be signed.

The Rs 450-crore satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which the nations can use for communication and other activities. Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they can beam their own programming.

The 2,230-kg payload (officially named GSAT-9) would be ferried by the 50-metre-tall indigenous geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle from Sriharikota. The satellite itself costs Rs 235 crore, while the remaining budget is for the launch. “India has always advanced on the path of progress in the spirit of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (inclusive development for all). And, when we say ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, it is not limited to the confines of India. It applies to the global context too, especially to our
neighbouring countries,” Modi said. The prime minister’s comments assume significance as they come in the backdrop of Chinese assistance to the South Asian countries in aiding their respective programmes.

The satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire (South Asia) region, Modi said
The satellite mission will cost Rs 450 crore, which India alone would bear.
Seven out of eight SAARC countries are a part of this project which Pakistan refused to join.
The SAS will will facilitate natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, information technology connectivity.

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