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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2342

With 235-Crore Satellite, PM Narendra Modi Extends 'Sab Ka Saath' Idea To SAARC

New Delhi, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com):

On May 5, the skies above the island of Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal will light up with the launch of India's giant Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket on its 11th mission as it lifts off with what is being billed as "a message of peace like never before".

The nearly 50m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons will carry what has been dubbed the 'South Asia Satellite' or what the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) prefers to call GSAT-9. The 2,230-kg communications satellite has been built in three years at a cost of Rs. 235 crore.

But what makes the satellite unique is that it will have a footprint that extends all over South Asia and will mark an unprecedented journey of India into "space diplomacy". The Rs. 450 crore project will be a "gift" for the country's South Asian neighbours, say officials in India's foreign ministry.

"Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has actually extended his slogan 'Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas' (development for all) to India's neighbourhood essentially to service the needs of the poor in South Asia," said Prashant Agarwal, an IIT Kanpur-trained engineer and the go-to person in the Ministry of External Affairs for the initiative.

Sources say the project was dropped as a surprise on ISRO as just four weeks into office, PM Modi asked India's space scientists to "take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite" that he wanted to "dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India".

The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku-band transponders which India's neighbours can utilise to bolster their communication capabilities. Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own telecommunication and broadcast programming. According to India, these will find use in areas such as just satellite television, very small aperture terminals (VSATs), tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management.

India has also said it will extend assistance to each country that will have to develop its own ground infrastructure for using the satellite.

Courtesy - NDTV

- Asian Tribune -

India will launch the satellite on May 5 from Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. (File photo)
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