New Delhi, April 30: Addressing his monthly radio address earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the South Asia Satellite mission would be launched on May 5. In what appears to be a strategic and diplomatic masterstroke, New Delhi has extended the services of the communication satellite to the seven out of the eight countries falling in SAARC. The only exception is SAARC, which had declined the inclusion offer sent by India.
“We have always attempted to move ahead with the concept of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ (cooperation of all, development for all),” Modi said, implying that India would seek strategic unity with its neighbours rather than competing with them.
List of SAARC nations part of South Asia Satellite project:
- Sri Lanka
“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.
Initially, it was to be named as ‘SAARC Satellite’ but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.
Basically, the satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region.
It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states 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.
(With inputs from PTI)