India to launch Saarc satellite to boost crop productivity

India moved a step closer to launching a Saarc satellite from Sriharikota next year after members of all Saarc countries who met on Monday gave a positive response to the concept note shared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on the proposed satellite.

Isro plans to launch the satellite before Saarc Day on December 8, 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mooted the idea of a satellite serving the needs of Saarc member nations during his visit to Nepal in August 2014.

The ‘Satellite for Saarc’ will have 12 KU band transponders and is expected to provide assistance in telemedicine, tele-education, village resource centre, crop productivity and disaster management.

Tshewang C Dongri from the Bhutan delegation said: “This is an excellent idea. Our country does not have sufficient technical capacity or resources for launching satellites. This would be a wonderful gift from India.”

There will be further bilateral discussions and the concept note that Isro formulated will be re-framed based on the suggestions. This would be followed by scientific deliberations and registration with International Telecommunication Union, a global agency for information and communication technologies.

“We have had a good exchange of ideas and sought suggestions on our concept note,” Isro chairman Dr Kiran Kumar said.