SAARC

Modi opens new chapter in neighbourhood with satellite

May 06, 2017 05:07 AM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Nrendra Modi opened a new chapter in neighbourhood diplomacy by launching a South Asia satellite on Friday. It's the fulfilment of a promise made in 2014, but it is the larger progress towards regional integration that might show lasting benefits.

Modi commended ISRO scientists for the launch and addressed the heads of six South Asian countries, barring Pakistan, via video conferencing. Calling it a "historic moment", Modi said the satellite "opens up new horizons of engagement and will greatly benefit South Asia and our region's progress".

In his address to six Saarc leaders — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina, Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Modi said, "This launch tells us that even the sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation."

He added, "Our coming together is a sign of our unshakeable resolve to place the needs of our peoples in the forefront. It shows that our collective choices for our citizens will bring us cooperation, not conflict; development, not destruction and prosperity, not poverty."

The Rs 450 crore satellite (Gsat-9) will link all Saarc countries except Pakistan as the latter opted out of the project. The 2,230 kg satellite, with a mission life of over 12 years, will provide communications and disaster support among other services to India and its neighbours.

The South Asia satellite is Modi's brainchild which he had proposed soon after assuming office three years ago. Its launch comes at a time when China is trying to increase its influence in South Asian countries.

"This is a first-of-its-kind project in South Asia. And through it, we Saarc nations will together achieve effective communication, better governance, better banking services and better education in remote areas," the PM said.

Thanking Modi for his initiative, Ghani said, "Today marks the day where South Asia moves from speaking about the desirability of regional integration to making it a reality. The gap between talk and action is bridged today."

Sheikh Hasina said, "Betterment of our people can happen through fruitful engagement between South Asian nations. The launch of this satellite will change the face of South Asia." Tshering Tobgay added, "Launch of this satellite augurs well for our region and for small nations like Bhutan."

Recalling Modi's 'sabka saath sabka vikas' slogan, Abdulla Yameen said, "This launch is an example of India's neighbour first policy. We must work for common good and better economic opportunities." Dahal said, "The satellite will enhance connectivity and will help in providing communication services in the mountain and hilly regions of Nepal." Sirisena thanked India and said, "May this initiative support people in all regions, enhance economic conditions and help in eliminating poverty."

Pakistan had opted out saying "India was not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis". Though Pakistan has five satellites in space, it lacks heavy duty launchers and satellite fabrication facilities, and its space programme is highly dependent on China.

Sri Lanka and Afghanistan also have communications satellites, which were launched by other nations. The Indian project project will be of great benefit to Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives, which do not have space programmes of their own and are particularly susceptible to climate-related disasters.

 

Punjab Khabar
Have something to say? Post your comment

Punjab Khabar

#1368, Sector-40B, Chandigarh
Phone: +91 172 2697799
Mobile: +91 9417270345
Email : punjabkhabaronline@gmail.com
Copyright © 2015 Punjab Khabar All rights reserved.
Website Designed by Mozart Infotech