Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday described the launch of the South Asian Satellite by India as a "historic moment" and said it opens up new horizons of engagement among the countries of the region. Hailing the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for ensuring the successful launch, he said the satellite will greatly benefit South Asia and the region's progress.
"Successful launch of South Asian Satellite is a historic moment. It opens up new horizons of engagement," Modi tweeted immediately after the GSLV-F09 carrying South Asia Communication Satellite lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport. "I congratulate the team of scientists who worked hard for the successful launch of South Asia Satellite. We are very proud of them," he added.
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.
"We are a united family of South Asian countries, united in our pursuit of peace, progress & prosperity of our region & the entire humankind," the Prime Minister said. 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.