South Asia Satellite is India's project, not regional effort: Pakistan
Pakistan today termed the launch of South Asian Satellite by India’s space agency ISRO as solely made by New Delhi and therefore it cannot be called a regional project.
"Pakistan has its own space programme at an advanced level and is ready to share its expertise and technological know-how and was keen to participate in the (Indian) project," Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.
Pakistan had opted out of the South Asia Satellite project which aims to boost the connectivity among SAARC nations. Islamabad had refused to accept India's 'gift', which Narendra Modi had proposed soon after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014.
Zakaria further said that ‘India was not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis, so it was not possible for Pakistan to support it as a regional project under the umbrella of SAARC’.
The GSLV-F09 carrying South Asia Communication Satellite lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport this afternoon.
Soon after taking over as the Prime Minister in 2014, Modi had made a unilateral proposal of India launching the satellite whose data would be shared with the eight SAARC countries for their development.
Initially, it was to be named as 'SAARC Satellite' but its 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.
In his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme on April 30, Modi had described the satellite as India's "pricelss gift" to its neighbours as part of the 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' concept.
The satellite will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.