Hyderabad, May 5: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of ‘Sabke Saath, Sabka Vikas’ is set to get boost in South Asia region. India's ISRO is all set to launch the “South Asia” satellite, today from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The South Asia Satellite is built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), aims to boost its “neighbourhood first policy” by carving a unique place for itself in space diplomacy by gifting a satellite to its neighbours.
The Indian space agency ISRO built the 2,230-kg communication satellite over three years. The satellite had been built at a cost of Rs. 235 Crore and the total cost of the project was Rs. 450 Crore. The satellite will be carried in a nearly 50m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons. The satellite is expected to provide communication channels between countries for better disaster management as the region is prone to natural disasters.
The countdown has begun for the launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09), carrying the GSAT-9 or the “South Asia” satellite. Earlier Prime Minister Modi while speaking during the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in 2014, PM Modi said that “Our dream is that this SAARC satellite will work in the welfare of all our neighbouring countries. And that’s why I have proposed in front of you today that we offer a valuable gift to our SAARC countries through a SAARC satellite launch so that we also become partners in their welfare.” Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are part of the project.
To this External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, the launch of the Rs 450 Crore satellite is a dimension of the “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas.” The benefits of the satellite will be in the areas of mapping of natural resources, telemedicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links. Each South Asian country will get access to one transponder through which they could beam their own programming and there could be common “South Asian programming”.
“India’s gift of a satellite for the SAARC region will benefit us all in areas like education, telemedicine, disaster response, resource management, weather forecasting and communication. We will also host a conference in India for all South Asian partners next year, to strengthen our collective ability to apply space technology in economic development and governance,” Modi had said in his Kathmandu speech.