Proud PM Modi calls 'Indian Gift' historic, unprecedented

  New Delhi: Hailing as historic India's successful launch of the South Asia Satellite, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday termed it a symbol of South Asian co-operation that will fulfill the aspiration of economic progress of more than one and half billion people in the region.

"With this launch, we have started our journey to built the most advanced frontier of our partnership," Narendra Modi said, addressing heads of government of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka via video conferencing.

Calling the satellite as a symbol of sign of cooperation to resolve the problems of the people, Modi said, "It shows that our collective choice for our citizens will bring us together for cooperation, not conflicts, development not destruction and prosperity not poverty."

An Indian rocket with the over two ton South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, intended to address the region's "economic and developmental priorities", blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Friday evening.

Through this project the region will achieve effective communication, better governance, better banking services and better education in remote areas, Modi added.

Speaking on the capability of the satellite, Modi said, "The satellite will provide services specific to individual countries..and also common service."

The satellite is expected to help in better communication, weather forecasting, telemedicine and response to disaster management.

Modi congratulated Indian Space Research Organisation for this success.

The rocket will sling into orbit the 2,230 kg South Asia Satellite, intended as an 'Indian Gift' for use by its fellow South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations, minus Pakistan, which had opted out stating "it has its own space programme".

In 2014, Prime Minister Modi had tasked the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop a satellite for use by the Saarc countries.