New Delhi: A sign of regional bonhomie the South Asian satellite project announced by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi two years ago as a ‘gift’ to the nations with whom it shares border seems will be delayed in its launch, scheduled in December this year.
The cause behind the delay in Modi's ambitious SAARC satellite project, is which is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is GSLV Mark III which the ISRO is launching in year end.
As per officials ISRO is extremely has been completely packed this year , almost launching one satellite per month "ISRO has been launching at least one satellite every month, at this point of time it looks difficult to launch the South Asian satellite in December. It could get delayed by a month," said an official.
"Work on GSLV Mark III is in progress, but the date for the launch is yet to be arrived at. The project will help ISRO launch satellites weighing around four tonnes," ISRO chairman and Department of Space Secretary A S Kirankumar said. ISRO currently has the capability of launching satellites weighing up to 2.2 tonnes.
The delay in the South Asian satellite also comes at a time when the regional grouping's annual summit in Islamabad has been called off following escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, in the wake of the Uri terror attack.
"We are working on the South Asian satellite project, but no date for launch has been finalised," Kirankumar said further.
Modi, during the regional bloc's 2014 Summit in Kathmandu, had announced launching of a SAARC Satellite as a 'gift' to its neighbors in order to expand information sharing and connectivity within the region.
SAARC had come into being on December 8, 1985 and the initial plan was to operationalise the satellite in December this year.
However, Pakistan opposed the move and demanded that the satellite be brought under the ambit of the grouping. This was unacceptable to India. The name was later changed to South Asian Satellite.
Barring Afghanistan and Pakistan, all other SAARC countries have given their go-ahead to the project.