With launch of South Asia Satellite GSAT-9, India’s space diplomacy with Modi in command takes flight

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May 5, 2017

Boosting connectivity among nations in the South Asian region, India today successfully launched South Asia Communication Satellite GSAT-9 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The Geostationary Communication Satellite is built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's space diplomacy efforts.

May 5, 2017

Boosting connectivity among nations in the South Asian region, India today successfully launched South Asia Communication Satellite GSAT-9 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The Geostationary Communication Satellite is built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's space diplomacy efforts.

GSAT-9, considered as a 'gift' to its South Asian neighbours, rode piggyback on the space agency's rocket GSLV-F09 with indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage.

Seven of the eight SAARC countries–India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives, are a part of the project. Pakistan had decided to opt out, stating "it has its own space programme."

PM Modi said described this as a historic moment saying it opens up new horizons of engagement and will also greatly benefit South Asia and our region's progress.

Modi said this is a first of its kind project in South Asia which will help in regional cooperation in the area of space technology applications in telecommunication and broadcasting, tele-medicine, tele-education, e-governance, banking/ ATM services, cellular back-haul, meteorological data transmission, disaster response and networking of academic and research institutions.

He congratulated scientists of ISRO for the flawless launch which he said is a symbol of South Asian progress.

In a video-conference held to mark the launch, Modi was joined by leaders from South Asian countries participating in the project – Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh Prime Minsister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

The satellite, costing around Rs 235 crore, is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region. Its mission life will span 12 years.

After coming to power in May 2014, PM Modi had asked ISRO scientists to develop a SAARC satellite that can be dedicated to neighboring countries as a "gift from India."

On his 'Mann ki baat' programme on Sunday last, Modi had announced that the South Asia Satellite would be India's "priceless gift" to its neighboring countries."The capacities of this satellite and the facilities it provides will go a long way in addressing South Asia's economic and developmental priorities," the Prime Minister said in his radio address.


Courtesy: India Today

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