India launches South Asia Satellite

ISRO has planned to launch GSLV mission in a bid to provide various communication applications in the Ku-band with coverage over south Asian countries. DH

ISRO's GSLV – F09 Launch on 5th May – 'South Asia Satellite'

The mission life is 12 years and it cost 235 crore Indian Rupees.

Soon after taking over as the Prime Minister in 2014, Modi had made a unilateral proposal of India launching the satellite whose data would be shared with the eight SAARC countries for their development. With an objective to strengthen cooperation in disaster communication and tele-communication among SAARC countries, the GSLV-F09 carried the GSAT-9 satellite. "I am confident that this satellite will change the face of South Asia".

"Natural resources mapping, telemedicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact, this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region", he said.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said: "Launch of this satellite, our satellite, augurs well for our region and for nations like Bhutan".

Congratulating the team of scientists who worked hard for the successful launch of South Asia Satellite, the Prime Minister said they are very proud of them.

All participating nations will have access to at least one transponder using which they can telecast their own programming.

Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan will benefit from this satellite.

Pakistan has five satellites but lacks heavy duty launchers and satellite fabrication facilities. Finally, it places the country in a strong position to pitch for a larger slice of the satellite-launch business, given India's cost-effective space programmes. PM Modi said that this is a "historic day for the region".

In Sriharikota, Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, "We have just transported South Asia satellite from Earth to geostationary transfer orbit using our Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mark II that makes use of indigenously developed cryogenic engine".

With a footprint extending all over South Asia, the satellite has 12 Ku-band transponders which India's neighbours can utilise to increase communications.

"It is an important step by India to enhance co-operation with the entire South Asia... it is an invaluable gift".

According to external affairs ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, the launch of the Rs235-crore satellite is a dimension of the "sabka saath, sabka vikaas" (collective effort, inclusive growth) concept espoused by Modi.

"During the 18th SAARC Summit, India offered to "gift" a satellite to SAARC member states, to be named as the so-called "SAARC Satellite".

The launch is viewed as a move by India to emphasise its role as the power centre in the region and gain trust from its neighbours at a time when China is making similar inroads. The nation also raised concerns if the satellite would enable India to steal sensitive information about the SAARC nations.

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