This op-ed is useful as launch of the SAARC satellite is the continuance of neighborhood first policy of the Modi Govt.
Link this news to the other steps taken by Modi Govt in this regard(inviting head of states in oath ceremony of Mod0,BBIN etc). Also this SAARC satellite could be linked to string of pearls policy of China.
It is India’s attempt to counter the growing dominance of Chinese soft power in our neighbourhood. Also Pakistan’s reluctance to join it reflects the continuation of its obstruction on any project for integration between South Asian countries (remember motor vehicle agreement) which could be used to answer a question like Why SAARC has not achieved much success till now?
Also factual detail about SAARC satellite could be asked in prelims. In 2015 they asked question on mars mission.
By and large, this is mostly a factual op-ed which is an irony in itself! If you can note some of the geo-strategy points around what this launch means for Pak and China (& how Afghan’s president reacted to it) – we will give +1 to your growing maturity wrt. UPSC Prep!
Importance of the launch:
- The Centre has kept its promise of considering India’s “neighbourhood first”
- The decision was announced at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu, and the government has kept its commitment of gifting its neighbours at least one transponder each on the GSAT-9
- This project has cost about ₹450 crore
- India has gained goodwill across the subcontinent through the gesture
Message to China:
- The message is equally strong to South Asia’s other benefactor, China, at a time when it is preparing to demonstrate its global clout at the Belt and Road Forum on May 14-15
- The Belt and Road Initiative is an infrastructure network that every SAARC nation other than India has signed on to
- China has pledged billions of dollars in projects to each of the countries in the region; that, India is obviously not in a position to match
India’s space programme:
- India does excel in its space programme, as it is the only country in South Asia that has independently launched satellites on indigenously developed launch vehicles
- However, in recent years Pakistan and Sri Lanka have launched satellites with assistance from China, while Afghanistan, the Maldives and Nepal are also understood to have discussed satellite projects with China
Other projects of South Asia:
- Bangladesh, which will launch its first satellite Bangabandhu-1 this year, is working with a European agency
- With the GSLV launch India is showing that where it is capable its commitment to the development of its neighbours is strong
Signal to the Pakistan:
- By going ahead with the project despite Pakistan’s decision to pull out, the Modi government is signalling that it will continue with its plans for the neighbourhood — ‘SAARC minus one’ — if necessary
- This vision was dealt a minor blow recently when Bhutan pulled out of the ‘mini-SAARC’ alternative plan of a motor vehicles agreement for BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India Nepal)
- But the government’s persistence indicates it will not be deterred by the obvious domestic constraints of the SAARC grouping
- Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, particularly aggrieved by Pakistan’s refusal to grant transit rights for India-Afghanistan trade, said at the launch of the GSLV-F09: “If cooperation through land is not possible, we can be connected through space”
Early this year, we had a newscard around – 5 new satellites this year to raise ISRO capacity
[V. Imp] Study the backgrounder on this ISRO Newstrail – click2read