SAARC meet: India to seek views on satellite project, e-knowledge network

SAARC ministerial meet

At the SAARC ministerial meeting in Pokhara, India will seek the views of partner countries on some of the key initiatives suggested in the last summit, which include the SAARC satellite project and the e-knowledge network project.

The four-day foreign ministerial-level meet of the SAARC has begun at Hotel Grand of Pokhara in Kaski district on March 14. The 42nd Session of the Standing Committee of SAARC, which is a foreign Secretary level forum, will be held on March 16 and will prepare the ground for the 37th Session of the Council of Ministers on March 17. The Indian delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj comprises Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and the Joint Secretary for SAARC. The 52nd session of the programming committee of SAARC, which is a joint secretary level forum, will be held in Pokhara on March 14 & 15.

“We also hope to review the state of play on the pacts that were close to finalisation at the last Summit but could not be concluded. We also plan to seek the views of our partners in SAARC on key initiatives mooted by us at the last Summit, including the satellite for SAARC project, the e-knowledge network project etc,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

India is building a SAARC satellite, an ambitious project envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to connect the region, as a gift to its South Asian neighbours. In a meeting held in June 2015, almost all countries have given their nod for the initiative. The SAARC satellite project will also help India to book a slot in the orbit, where the satellite could be placed.

India has received support from some of the SAARC countries for the satellite project in writing, with the details of the technical parameters and support that they are supposed to provide.