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Indian Prime Minister Reiterates Call for South Asian Space Technology Sharing

Aug. 22, 2014 (EIRNS)—On June 30, after watching the launch of an Indian rocket carrying a French satellite, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed that, as part of his vision for India’s space program, there should be more concrete space cooperation in the region. He proposed to develop a "SAARC satellite," for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. He reiterated this call during a trip to Nepal at the beginning of August.

India should play a leadership role in sharing its space expertise with the SAARC nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), he said. This, he said, should be used for socioeconomic development in the region, has it has been for his nation. There is already a SAARC Meteorological Research Center, to collect weather data for the region. There is also a network for cooperation in hydrology, oceanography, seismology, and atmospheric science. All of these fields either already rely on, or could be greatly enhanced by, space-based data.

India already has a number of remote sensing satellite in operation, but in addition to sharing data from its own assets, Modi is proposing a shared satellite, designed specifically to cover all of the many and various geographic characteristics of the region. The countries included as of now in SAARC have a population of almost l.5 billion people.