India Ropes in SAARC Nations in Future Satellite Program

With the successful launch of 11 satellites in the past one year and riding on glory from its Mangalyaan Mars mission, India is planning an ambitious satellite project with all the SAARC nations of South Asia, including arch rival Pakistan.

The New Delhi Meeting scheduled on June 22 will be attended by all the SAARC countries, said Indian space agency ISRO’s chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar on Tuesday. He defused concerns in some circles that Pakistan was reluctant saying that was not "entirely correct" since Pakistan too will attend the meeting.

"There is a one day program of familiarising them with what are the things that are possible and how to go forward," he said. The move was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to include other SAARC nations in a pan-South Asian satellite project at the PSLV c-23 launch, he noted.

India wants to launch a satellite for South Asia to keep China’s growing influence in the region, especially with its satellite projects in the near future, experts said. When ISRO had sent letters of intent last year, the reluctant response from Pakistan raised some eye-brows but later Islamabad said it was attending the meeting.

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