The idea of a SAARC satellite is inching closer to fruition. Against the backdrop of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Neighborhood first policy, India has intensified its efforts to launch a dedicated satellite for the SAARC region and has shared the concept note with members of SAARC countries. The so-called SAARC satellite will be harnessed for bringing telemedicine, emergency communication and even television services to countries in South Asia.
The concept reveals details of the Indian plans for space cooperation in the region. The note says, “Satellite based connectivity can meet a number of challenges that the SAARC countries face in the areas of education, health support, and emergency communication.”
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Satellite is a proposed communication-cum-meteorology satellite conceptualised by Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) and is dedicated for the SAARC region. The proposal was unveiled by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November last year.
The satellite is expected to be a 2 tonne class communication satellite and has capacity to cover the entire SAARC region. It will be launched from the Indian spaceport at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Over 70 delegates from SAARC countries are expected to attend the seminar, where Indian representatives, including officials from the PMO, will discuss the details of the project. SAARC nations, which do not have a dedicated space department, have been requested to send members of their respective scientific organisations.
After the details are worked out, India will go ahead with the satellite system initiative that is being funded solely by India. Once established, the satellite will assist India’s neighbors in various ways, which include providing tele-medicine links within member nations as well as setting up of e-classrooms for skill development. It will also assist in enabling emergency communication for disaster situations and inter-governmental networks.
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