Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday expressed her belief that any cooperation in space exploration will definitely take the South Asian countries to the ambitious technological enhancement for the benefit of the region.
“I’m sure that any cooperation in space will definitely lead us to the ambitious technological enhancement for the benefit of the region,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the statement joining a videoconference with the heads of the government of seven South Asian countries after the successful launching of the South Asia Satellite from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota of Andhra Pradesh in India.
Sheikh Hasina said she is confident that the launching of this Satellite will change the face of South Asia. “With this, we’ve expanded our connectivity from land, water and air to space.”
She also hoped that the South Asia Satellite will open up a new horizon of cooperation in this particular area in the coming days.
Hasina mentioned that she strongly believes the betterment of the people of South Asian region depends on fruitful engagement in various fields of cooperation between the countries of this region.
“We want to cooperate with all countries for creating an area of peace in South Asia where we can live as good neighbours and pursue constructive policies for the benefit of our peoples, as envisioned by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she added.
The Prime Minister thanked and congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government for successful launching of the South Asia Satellite.
During the videoconference, the Indian Prime Minister described the launching of such a satellite as historic and a symbol of regional cooperation.
“The collective choices for the citizens of the participating countries will bring people together for cooperation, not conflict; development, not destruction; and prosperity, not poverty,” he said.
Terming the project the first of its kind in South Asia, he said through this, the countries will together achieve effective communication, better governance, better banking and better education in remote areas.
Besides, space technology will touch the lives of the people in the region, Modi said adding that the satellite will provide specific services to respective countries as per their own needs and priorities, as also common services.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also joined the videoconference from Kabul and Colombo respectively while Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal joined it from Kathmandu, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay from Thimphu and Maldives President Abdulla Yameen joined from Male.
The leaders in their speech termed the launching of the South Asia Satellite a historic event and a milestone for enhancing regional cooperation.
Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have joined the project but Pakistan has chosen to stay out of it.
The South Asian Communication Satellite (GSAT-9) was launched on board India Space Research Organisation’s rocket GSLV-09, a 50-metre tall rocket weighing about 412 tonnes, from Sriharikota space port.
The 2230-kg satellite, built and funded totally by India, is carrying 12 top-of-the-line communication transponders, making it India’s most significant space project since February’s record-breaking launch of 104 mini-satellites in a single launch.
Each country which has joined South Asia satellite project can use at least one transponder provided it has the ground infrastructure like earth stations to receive signals from the satellite.
Friday’s launch will enable the new satellite to provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others.
The satellite focusing on disaster communications could be particularly beneficial to South Asia, home to about a quarter of the world’s population and prone to tropical cyclones, heat waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and floods.
The South Asian Satellite will serve the neighbouring countries not only during natural calamities and disasters but also during several manmade problems like terror attacks, insurgency and military coups.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Prime Minister’s Adviser HT Imam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim were present at Ganobhaban.