Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said the Nirbhay missile test was "successful".(Representative image) VOA

India launched a “South Asia” satellite on Friday to provide communication services to neighboring countries in a new initiative hailed by leaders of seven South Asian countries as a boost to regional cooperation.

The “space diplomacy” by India, which has an advanced space program, aims at building stronger ties in the region where China has been gaining influence. But underlining the tensions between the two most populous countries in the region, India’s arch-rival, Pakistan has opted out of the project.


Soon after the launch of the $70-million satellite, which is funded by New Delhi, the leaders of the seven countries participating in the project — India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives, addressed a video conference that was nationally televised.

Please Follow NewsGram on Facebook To Get Latest Updates!

Calling it the “first of its kind” project, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the satellite would help meet the aspirations of economic progress of one-and-a-half-billion people in the region.

“It shows that our collective choices for our citizens will bring us together for cooperation, not conflict, development, not destruction, and prosperity, not poverty, he said.”

Pointing out that South Asia was the world’s least economically integrated region, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said “South Asia has taken a giant step today toward regional cooperation.”

The leader of the landlocked country, which does not have road access to India, said if cooperation through land is not possible, it is certainly possible through the sky. “We are confident we will integrate,” he said.

Weighing 2,230 kilograms and containing 12 communication transponders, the satellite was put in orbit by a rocket in Sriharikota in eastern Andhra Pradesh state. It will help provide services such as telecommunications, telemedicine, disaster management and weather forecasting.

In a region prone to natural disasters like cyclones, floods and earthquakes, the satellite’s greatest benefit is expected to be in the area of disaster management.

The biggest beneficiaries will be the two smallest countries — Bhutan and Maldives. VOA


Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay noted that his tiny Himalayan country, which measures the happiness quotient of its citizens as an indicator of progress, had neither the technical know-how nor the resources to launch their own satellite. He said the satellite will “advance the well being and happiness of our people” as it helps boost an array of services.

Pointing out that India wants to use its space program to further its regional goals, Sukh Deo Muni, a South Asia expert at New Delhi’s Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses said “India wants to take the lead in integrating the region, and probably join hands on the developmental issues, cooperating with each other.”

After taking office in 2014, Prime Minister Modi launched what he called a “neighborhood first” approach, partly to counter China, which has expanded its influence in South Asia and pumped in billions of dollars to build infrastructure projects in countries like Sri Lanka.

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan at the Observer Research Foundation Others said that for the first time, Modi is giving a strategic dimension to the country’s space program.

ALSO READ: 5 Proven Ways to Get Cheap YouTube Views Easy: Tactic That Works

“India is possibly beginning to appreciate the importance of space launches as part of foreign policy tool and diplomatic engagement, something that China has been doing for a long time,” he said.

Foreign policy experts say Pakistan’s decision to opt out of the project is not surprising given the deep political hostilities and suspicions between the two countries. (VOA)


Popular

Photo by @shawnanggg on Unsplash

Aviation has revolutionised tourism and business forever, not to mention the cultural linkages that have been made possible.

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo DaVinci

International Civil Aviation Day is observed on December 7th to recognize the flying industry’s impact on modern society. In 1994, as part of ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation Organization) 50th-anniversary celebrations, the first International Civil Aviation Day was observed, and in 1996, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 7th as International Civil Aviation Day.

Keep Reading Show less

Incomplete data entries and loopholes in the ledger are significant factors in slowing down the accounting process.

By- Harris Scott

Business owners hardly have time to look into all aspects of a business operation, and accounting is one aspect. While small business owners might invest some time handling accounting services, it is indeed a big waste for owners of major enterprises. Regardless of the size of the business, your organization needs someone to look after the ledger.

Keep Reading Show less
Pixabay

7th of December 1949, the Armed Force Flag Day

Since the 7th of December 1949, the Armed Forces Flag Day has been observed in India, annually. This one day is dedicated towards collection of funds from the citizens of India for the welfare of the ‘Indian Armed Forces personnel’. It has become a tradition to pay respect to the people who have served in the army, Navy and Airforce, on this day.

“The idea behind observing a Flag Day was to distribute small flags to the general population and in return collect donations.” The color-scheme of the flag is very similar to the ones used by fellow Commonwealth members like Cyprus, Kenya and Nigeria. The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.

Keep reading... Show less