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This op-ed provides a revealing outline of how the political tensions in Islamic Pakistan have damaged efforts by India to work together on a satellite project.
In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced India’s decision to develop (and gift) a satellite to benefit all SAARC member countries [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] in different fields like weather data exchanges, disaster management, telecommunication and tele-medicine. The work on this satellite has already begun at the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO), and the satellite is expected to be launched by the end of 2016. After remaining indecisive about this project for long, Pakistan has finally decided to opt out of the SAARC satellite project. Now, India would launch this satellite not as a satellite for SAARC, but as a South Asia satellite.
Pakistan’s decision may not be totally surprising given the current chill in the India-Pakistan relationship. The initial discussions on this project were progressing in a constructive fashion with Pakistan. However, Pakistan subsequently made a technical and financial help offer to India for the construction of the satellite. This was not accepted by India, which could be one of the main reasons for Pakistan opting out of this project. Obviously, Pakistan has missed an opportunity to develop ‘orbital cooperation’ with India in spite of having ‘terrestrial confrontation’.
The article, describing other cooperative efforts by India, including working with Russia and China to link the GPS systems of the three countries. once again indicates to me that India as a country is successfully becoming a first world nation.