New Delhi: The South Asia Satellite will be launched on 5 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday, describing it as India’s “pricelss gift" to its neighbours as part of the sabka saath, sabka vikaas concept.
The South Asia Satellite is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) region made up of eight countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Initially, it was to be named “SAARC Satellite" but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.
“We have always attempted to move ahead with the concept of sabka sath, sabka vikas (cooperation of all, development for all)," Modi said in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. The concept of sabka sath, sabka vikas is not confined to India but is relevant globally too, especially in the context of the neighbourhood, he said.
“There should be cooperation of our neighbours and there should be development of our neighbours too," he said. “On 5 May, India will launch the South Asia Satellite. The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project," the prime minister said.
Describing it as a “priceless gift" from India, he said the project is a significant step towards promoting cooperation with the entire South Asia. “This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia...The satellite of South Asia will help in the overall development of the entire region," Modi said.
The benefits will be in the areas of mapping of natural resources, tele-medicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links, he said. He thanked the countries which became part of this project. These countries, besides India, are Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan.
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.
The satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of the South Asian region. It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home), certain VSAT (very small aperture terminal) capacity plus linking among the countries for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.
The satellite was initially proposed to be launched in December last year but it got delayed.