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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the launch of South Asia Satellite as a ‘historic moment’. The satellite that took off at around 4:57 pm local time, was carried into its designated orbit by GSLV MK- II. The satellite weighs 2,230 kilograms and is carrying 12 Ku-band transponders, making it India’s most significant space project since February’s record-breaking launch of 104 mini satellites with a single rocket.

The launch will enable the new satellite to provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others. The satellite was first to be named ‘SAARC Satellite’ but the name was changed to ‘South Asia Satellite’ after Pakistan refused to join the project. India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan are now part of the project.

“The satellite will ‘enable a full range of applications and services to our neighbors in the field of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz. television, direct-to-home (DTH), very small aperture terminals (VSATs), tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support,” stated a government official.  

Here’s what the SAARC leaders have to say about the launch: 

Nepal Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal stated, “This would enhance connectivity between South Asian countries; connectivity is key to development.”

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, quoting PM Modi said “Sab ka saath sabka vikas (Collective efforts, inclusive growth)’.

“The imperative of regional cooperation has changed to reality with the launch of the GSLV,” said Ashraf Ghani, President, Afghanistan.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “We want to live in peace in South Asia, GSLV is a new step in cooperation.”

Updates about the launch on Twitter: 

“Successful launch of South Asian Satellite is a historic moment. It opens up new horizons of engagement,” Modi tweeted immediately after the GSLV carrying South Asia Communication Satellite lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport.

South Asia Satellite Exclusive Inputs from Amit Raj Singh, Senior Producer, Geospatial Media and Communications