Diplomacy is the variation of theme.
Working on the theme of international relations India has projected space diplomacy in a different way. India, which has excellent relations with most of its neighbors, has decided to enhance the regional engagement in outer space too.
On 5th May, 2017 India has successfully launched the South Asia Satellite also known as GSAT-9, an ‘invaluable gift’ to its neighbours of 1 ½ billion people that is aimed to provide better communication, weather forecasting, tele-medicine and faster response to disaster management.
GSAT-9 is a geostationary communication and meteorology satellite built and operated by ISRO (INDIAN SPACE RESEARCH ORGANIZATION) for SAARC (SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION for REGIONAL COOPERATATION) , blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Shriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The launch was celebrated jointly through a video conference by PM Narendra Modi, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Bhutanese PM Thering Tobgay, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, Nepalese PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena.
This cemented the bonds between South Asian country and overcome the negative vibes from Pakistan which was the only country to stay away from the celebration of the launch of the satellite and appeared as not wanting to be beneficiary from the project. Later on Pakistan offered monetary and technological support as a partnership in the project which was rejected by India saying the project is a gift to the sub Asian country and multi national collaboration would consume more time, as Pakistan’s space technology architecture is still at very nascent stage.
Technologically, this was just a routine launch for ISRO, because they have already launched various communication satellites. However, for the Indian state, this launch has important geopolitical significance. . India committed that it would cover the entire technological responsibilities and cost of this project also India is the only space faring and satellite manufacturing state among the SAARC group of countries. The satellite would boost connectivity in the region that in turn would uplift the standard of development and technology. It would help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of South Asians.