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Q. South Asia satellite launch: Comment on successful launch of South Asia satellite.
May 10, 2017 Related to : GS paper- 2 and 3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Indian Space and Research organisation has launched the South Asia Satellite to help South Asian neighbours. South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, termed India's technology generous gift from the sky to the peoples of the region has been successfully launched. The satellite will serve our neighbours- Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan Maldives and Nepal. 

Important features of South Asia Satellite-

  • The Indian space agency ISRO built the 2,230-kg communication satellite over three years.
  • The satellite had been built at a cost of Rs. 235 crore and the total cost of the project was Rs. 450 crore.
  • The satellite will be carried in a nearly 50m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons.
  • The functions of the satellite will include natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, deeper IT connectivity. 

Analysis-

  • India has time again shown its excellence in its space programme, as it is the only country in South Asia that has independently launched satellites on indigenously developed launch vehicles.
  • By launching the South Asia satellite, India has reaffirmed not only the ISRO’s scientific prowess, but also showed its diplomatic success in geopolitical spectrum.
  • The decision to gift satellite was announced in the SAARC summit in Kathmandu, and the government has kept its commitment of gifting its neighbours at least one transponder each on the GSAT-9, a project that cost about ₹450 crore.
  • Similarly India has kept its promise of considering India’s neighbourhood first policy and gained goodwill across the subcontinent through the gesture.
  • It also gave a strong message to South Asia’s other benefactor, China, at a time when it is preparing to demonstrate its global clout at the Belt and Road Forum.
  • With the launch of South Asia Satellite, India has shown that where it is capable and its commitment to the development of its neighbours is strong. 
  • By going ahead with the project despite Pakistan’s decision to pull out, the government is signalling that it will continue with its plans for the neighbourhood ‘SAARC minus one’ if it is necessary.

Conclusion-

The launch of South Asian Satellite has brought several positive signals not only on space technology front but also India’s commitment towards neighbourhood. By gifting satellite to our neighbours, India has gained goodwill gesture across the subcontinent. India has shown it might in space technology and it also gives strong message in geopolitical front to other competing nations in the continent.


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