ISRO successfully launches South Asia communication Satellite

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Press Trust of India file

India successfully launched, in copy book style, the South Asia Satellite, meant to serve "economic and developmental priorities" of South Asian nations, using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09). The intended operational life of the satellite is more than 12 years and it cost Rs. 235 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to office promising to strengthen ties with neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Pakistan, has called the satellite a gift to south Asia.

Later joining the five heads of state of SAARC nations - Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena - Modi hailed the launch.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has 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. The lift-off mass is about 2,230kg, and includes the satellite and its launch vehicle.

South Asia Satellite ready to launch.

With GSAT-09, South Asian countries can also save the investment they would have had to make on developing a communication satellite and launching it.

He expressed his gratitude to "visionary leader" Modi "for dedicating it to the common progress of the South Asian region".

It will also provide and augment internet connectivity and will be of benefit in disaster management.

Pakistan, however, pulled itself out of the project saying it has its "own space programme", according to an Indian news portal NDTV.

The month end is expected to see the launch of GSLV-Mk-III with communication satellite GSAT 19 weighing around 3.2 tonne - the heaviest satellite to be lifted by an Indian rocket from Sriharikota.

The PM recalled that two years ago India had made a promise to extend advanced space technology for the cause of growth and prosperity of the people of South Asia and that the successful launch of the GSAT-9 satellite marked the fulfilment of that promise. He hoped that the initiative will support people in all regions, enhance economic conditions and help in eliminating poverty.

This is India's eleventh GSLV launch and its fourth consecutive flight using an indigenous Cryogenic engine powering the upper stage. "We are very proud of them".

The GSAT-9 is being launched with an objective to provide different communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries, the ISRO had said. The satellite could not however be named SAARC satellite as Pakistan backed out of the project.