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Space diplomacy: ISRO to launch South Asia Satellite on May 5

India embarks on space diplomacy like never before. ISRO to launchSouth Asia satellite” GSAT-9  on May 5. GSLV on its 11th mission will carry the 2230 Kg ‘South Asia Satellite’ from Sriharikota. It is purely a communications satellite costing Rs 235 crore. The Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India‘s neighbors can utilize to increase communications. It will also for providing disaster support and Hotline connectivity among the countries of South Asia region. The satellite is designed for a mission life of more than 12 years. The satellite will benefit all the countries in the southern region, except Pakistan. Pakistan decided to ‘opt out’ from the proposed South Asia satellite suggesting that ‘It has its own space program’. PM Modi had requested ISRO to build a South Asia satellite. satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India“. Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to be part of this mission.  Hopefully, friendly skies can result in reduced hostilities on Earth.