South Asia Satellite takes off: Linking region via space


south-asia-satellite1In a defining step to promote regional solidarity and cooperation, India has launched the South Asia Satellite, a pioneering initiative that will touch and transform the lives of people of seven countries in the region.

The South Asia Satellite, a dream that was birthed less than three years ago and a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was successfully launched today by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from Sriharikota on May 5.

The leaders of seven South Asian countries, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, and Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena joined India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an unprecedented video-conference held to mark the launch.

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The launch of South Asia Satellite marks the fulfilment of India’s commitment and also the beginning of the journey to build the most advanced frontier of our partnership, said Mr Modi at this historic occasion. “With its position high in the sky, this symbol of South Asian cooperation would meet the aspirations of economic progress of more than one-and-a-half billion people in our region. And, extend our close links into Outer Space,” he said.

Mr Modi underlined that the project will touch the lives of the people of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India through regional cooperation in space technology applications in telecommunication in diverse areas. These include broadcasting, tele-medicine, tele-education, e-governance, banking/ ATM services, cellular back-haul, meteorological data transmission, disaster response and networking of academic and research institutions.

He underscored that the South Asia Satellite demonstrated that “our collective choices for our citizens will bring us together for cooperation, not conflict; development, not destruction; and prosperity not poverty.”