Beijing Declaration On Education

Following is the text of Beijing Declaration On Education adopted in the 5th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education in Beijing, China, on July 5th, 2017. 

Details | Beijing Declaration

  • Committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4)-Education 2030 which aims to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all” that was set within The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Recognizing the significance of collaboration in the field of education for enhancing the overall partnership among BRICS Member States and enhancing people to people exchanges to a higher level.

The Beijing Declaration

For ensuring coordinated and deeper cooperation among the Member States, hereby declare to –

  • Reiterate support for the BRICS Network University (NU) to collaborate in the fields of education, research and innovation. Encourage universities to participate in the BRICS University League.
  • Increase cultural cooperation through language education and multilingualism to promote mutual understanding of the history and culture of BRICS Member States.
  • Undertake initiatives to promote professionalization of academics in higher education through the BRICS Network University as a focus of future education development.
  • Encourage more teachers and educational administrators to learn from experience of other countries in improving teacher quality and performance, and promoting the development of education through international exchanges.
  • Strengthen cooperation in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), share ideas and experiences in the development of vocational educators, and develop projects that are of common interests to BRICS Member States.
  • Recognize the importance of BRICS Think Tanks Council (BTTC), BRICS Network University as well as other BRICS initiatives, and encourage the streamlining of mechanisms for their closer cooperation to ensure the alignment of their work.
  • Emphasize the importance of streamlining the cooperation among educational think tanks and education researchers, and welcome China’s invitation to host a conference to explore possible cooperation among the various entities in BRICS Member States.
  • Encourage the organization of “youth winter/summer camps” to reinforce communication and cultural exchanges among the young generation from BRICS Member States.
  • Encourage Member States to expand the number of scholarship opportunities to students across BRICS Member States.
  • Share the experience and practices in achieving the SDG4-Education 2030 targets in order to foster a more favourable policy environment, adopt effective practices, and advocate for global educational policies that take into account the common concern and priorities of the BRICS Member States.
  • Encourage the participation in the 3rd BRICS NU Annual Conference to be held in 2018, in Cape Town, South Africa and in the BRICS Global Business and Innovation Conference to be held in September 2017, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

PM Modi US Visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump struck a common note on terrorism as they met for the first time at the White House last week during PM Modi US Visit. The two leaders vowed to fight against terrorism confirming that it was their topmost priority. Both countries also pledged to deepen their security and defence cooperation. US cleared the sale of Predator-Guardian drones to India which builds on the US’s recognition of India as the major defence partner.

Analysis | PM Modi US Visit

  • The delegation-level talks between India and the US carried Secretary of State, Defence Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Treasury Secretary and the National Security Advisor of the US, from the US side, despite the fact that such a huge representation was missing from India’s side. This high powered representation from the US showed that it is serious about India and wishes to expand their cooperation in every field apart from security and trade.
  • United States reaffirmed its commitment to support India’s candidature for a permanent seat at the reformed United Nations Security Council.

PM Modi US Visit | Security cooperation

  • In a surprise move, the Department of State of the US tagged HizbulMujahideen chief ‘Syed Salahudeen’ as a terrorist for inciting violence in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This action went off as unexpected assault for the Pakistani authorities protecting the acclaimed terrorist residing in Pakistan.
  • United States vocally supported India’s position vis-à-vis CPEC and its violation of India’s sovereignty in terms of it passing through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • India’s requests for increasing and not receding the role of the US in Afghanistan was positively acknowledged with Defence Secretary James Mattis confirming that the US will increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. This decision is in sharp contrast to the previous Obama Administration which vowed to reduce the role of the US in Afghanistan. India’s concerns were addressed positively and the joint statement confirmed the same. The US confirmed in the joint statement that actions against safe havens of terrorists is acceptable, which signalled a support for India’s surgical strikes in Pakistan’s terrorist camps in PoK. It also confirmed that drone strikes at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border will resume and will be intensified.

PM Modi US Visit | Trade cooperation

  • India has a favourable balance of trade (about $24 billion) with the US. President Trump wishes to expand trade cooperation but wants to renegotiate the trade arrangements with the world in US’s favour. As the trade surplus is not high enough or tilted in favour of India, so the President is not willing to renegotiate the trade related arrangements with India.
  • A deal for the purchase of huge numbers of civilian aircrafts from the US was announced which was joyfully welcomed by the US President as it would create jobs in the US, which is the primary agenda of President Trump.

Climate Change

US confirmed that it would not come in India’s way of getting climate finance from the World Bank or even green technology transfer from the United States itself. This was a positive assurance from the US in return for India’s strategic non-interference in President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Deal.

PM Modi US Visit | Concerns

  • US announcement for the sale of Predator-Guardian drones were constrained by the fact that the armed drones’ sale was withheld with only surveillance capability drones (maritime surveillance) being given clearance for the sale. Nonetheless, India’s capability of armed attack is not constrained by this sale but the surveillance capabilities would be increased which is the prime target for India against a belligerent China.
  • India is also negotiating to purchase ‘shale gas’ from the US in the near future but the sale of it was tied up in the regulatory mess in the US.
  • India’s issues with the H1-B visas and the Paris Climate Deal was untouched due to the fact that this visit was aimed to focus on the positive deliverables.
  • High tariffs, IPR issue and regulatory cholesterol were the major issues highlighted by the US side on trade front with India to which India reaffirmed its commitment to streamline the process and positively projected the steps taken in this regard.

Conclusion | PM Modi US Visit

President Trump has signalled his administration that he is fond of India and that he wishes to continue the policies of strong Indo-US relationship set by his predecessors. This visit of Prime Minister Modi provided a much-needed impetus to the Indo-US relationship after the ascension of President Trump to the White House. The visit was focused on positive deliverables and both sides restrained from discussing the contentious issues of trade and immigration. The security and defence cooperation was further strengthened with opening another door of cooperation in tackling cross-border terrorism.

Indo-China Border Skirmishes | Recent Updates

The territorial and boundary dispute between Indo-China is a complex, historical, multi-layered wrangle across a sprawling 3,500-kilometre-long border.

What is the current Indo-China issue?

  • At issue is sovereignty over a scenic, 4,000-metrehigh pasture called Doklam — less than 100 square kilometres in spread.
  • India claims that the Chumbi Valley, a dagger shaped wedge of Chinese territory protruding southward from the Tibetan plateau, ends north of Doklam at the Batang La pass.
  • China asserts ownership of Doklam, too, claiming the boundary runs south of the pasture, along the dominating Gyemo Chen mountain, which China calls Mount Gipmochi.
  • Complicating this otherwise straightforward dispute is Bhutan, since the tri-junction of the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan boundary falls here. Bhutan’s claims are supportive of India’s.

History of border disputes between Indo-China

  • The 1962 war was sparked off near Ziminthang by disagreement over whether the boundary ran along the Thagla Ridge, as India claimed, or along the Hathungla ridgeline to its south, as China contended.
  • The 1986 Sumdorong Chu confrontation, which saw India moving tens of thousands of troops to the trouble spot, was over the tiny Thangdrong grazing ground near Tawang, with India claiming the watershed ran north of that meadow, and China claiming it was to the south.
  • At Walong, too, at the eastern end of the Indo-China boundary, disagreement centres on which ridgeline constitutes the watershed.

Concerns of India

  • Many of the 14 sub-disputes on the LAC are over relatively inconsequential grazing grounds and meadows. However, the on-going standoff at tri-junction, at the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley, is over territory that both Beijing and New Delhi regard as strategically important.
  • Indian military planners worry that letting Beijing extend the boundary southwards to Mount Gipmochi would bring China closer to the Siliguri corridor.
  • Assuming that China obtained control over the Siliguri corridor, India could simply bypass the corridor, moving through Nepal or Bangladesh.

Chumbi Valley – China’s vulnerability

  • Of all China’s border vulnerabilities, the Chumbi Valley is perhaps the greatest. It is a narrow salient overlooked by Indian defences, which can cut off the valley from Tibet by wheeling east from north Sikkim.
  • Strategists regard the capture of the Chumbi Valley as an obvious wartime target for India’s “mountain strike corps” when it is operational. By extending the Chumbi Valley southwards, therefore, China would only be expanding a key vulnerability.

Chinese argument over Doklam plateau

  • China’s foreign ministry spokesperson spelt out in tedious detail last week, the 1890 Anglo-Chinese Convention Relating to Sikkim and Tibet specifically mentioned Mount Gipmochi as tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan. True, Beijing rejects as “colonial impositions” other British era agreements, like the 1914 Simla Convention that birthed the McMahon Line. But, there is a difference — China actually signed the 1890 agreement, and not the 1914 one.
  • Beijing also argues that Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 agreement in a 1959 letter to Zhou Enlai.
  • Beijing also cites a pastureland claim over Doklam, arguing that the yak graziers of Yadong have long held grazing rights over Doklam, and that graziers from Bhutan paid a “grass tax” to Yadong graziers if they wanted to herd there.
  • China’s foreign ministry claims the Tibet Archives still possess “grass tax” receipts from earlier times. The grazier argument is a powerful one in border lands peopled by nomadic herders. Both China and India use it to back their territorial claims in other disputed sectors.

Current position of India

  • Although Beijing has made Indian withdrawal a precondition for de-escalating the Doklam faceoff, Indian forces are showing no sign of blinking.
  • Over the preceding decade, India’s defensive posture has been greatly stiffened by raising two new divisions in the Northeast; an armoured brigade each for Ladakh and the Northeast; a mountain strike corps currently being raised and major improvements in India’s air defence and air strike capabilities.
  • Whereas once, China bullied India on the LAC and — as it is attempting in Doklam — built roads, tracks and bunkers as “facts on the ground” to consolidate its position in any future negotiation; today the Indian Army is rightly willing to, and capable of, physically blocking such attempts.

Conclusion Indo-China

There has been no shooting on the Indo-China LAC since 1975, a peace bolstered by the successful “Peace and Tranquillity Agreement” that New Delhi and Beijing signed in 1993. Paradoxically, India’s pro-active Indo-China LAC stance is creating incentives in Beijing for a LAC settlement. Yet, calibrating the aggression and managing each patrol confrontation remain tricky balancing acts. Until a Indo-China LAC agreement comes about, New Delhi must develop the instruments and expertise needed for managing such crises.

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MoU between India and Israel

The Union Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India. 

Highlights

  • This will benefit the country in conserving water for future generations.
  • The two countries shall work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international level to design, implement and monitor a professionally-designed National Water Conservation Campaign in India.

Benefits

The proposed MoU will help India and Israel to cooperate in water conservation. It would –

  • Put water conservation on the national agenda in India.
  • Encourage every citizen to save water in everyday life.
  • Generating awareness about water.
  • Promoting Re-use, Recharge and Recycling of water.
  • Development of digital tools such as websites, mobile applications on the subject of water conservation.

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SIMBEX 2017 Bilateral Naval Exercise Commences

As part of SIMBEX 2017, the ongoing Bilateral Naval Exercise between Navies of the Republic of Singapore and India, Indian Naval Ships Shivalik, Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kamorta and one P8-I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft are participating.

About SIMBEX 2017

  • SIMBEX is an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises”. Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalized when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.
  • This year’s edition of SIMBEX 2017 being held in the South China Sea would be the 24th in the series and is aimed to increase interoperability between the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • The scope of the current exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase scheduled from 18 May to 20 May and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase to be held from 21 May to 24 May.
  • The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercises. 

Highlights of SlMBEX 2017

  • During SlMBEX-17, the Singapore Navy is represented by RSN Ships Supreme, Formidable and Victory and Maritime Patrol Aircraft Fokker F50 in addition to the RSAF F-16 aircraft. 
  • The two navies share a long-standing relationship with regular professional interactions that include exchange programs, staff talk, and training courses.

International Maritime Review | PIB Summary

Admiral Sunil Lamba, Chief of the Naval Staff, is on an official tour to Singapore from 15 May 2017. The Admiral will be attending the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) 50th International Maritime Review (IMR), commemorating 50 years of the RSN which was formed on 05 May 1967, and International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) 2017. Besides attending the IMR and IMDEX 17, the visit aims to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues.

India – Singapore defence cooperation | International Maritime Review

  • Defence cooperation between India and Singapore is robust and is primarily focused towards Maritime Cooperation. India signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2003, which was renewed in 2015.
  • Indian Navy and Singapore Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct, conceptualized and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008. Singapore Navy has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Indian Navy to take this 21st century maritime construct forward. Both countries have been conducting the bilateral exercise ‘SIMBEX’ since 1994. The next edition of the exercise is scheduled to be conducted off Singapore from 18 to 24 May 2017.
  • Both navies also engage in Navy to Navy Staff Talks, which commenced in 2004. The 12thStaff Talks were conducted in March 2017 and the 13th Staff Talks are scheduled to be held in 2018.
  • The Singapore Navy has participated in all the MILAN-series interactions organized at Port Blair by the Indian Navy. Warships of both countries regularly visit each other’s ports.
  • The last visit by the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy was by Admiral RK Dhowan in 2015 and the Singaporean Naval Chief Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han last visited India in Feb 2016 for the IFR 16 at Visakhapatnam. Both countries also enjoy healthy training cooperation by means of trainee and instructor exchange programs. 

Maritime cooperation | International Maritime Review

India – Singapore share similar maritime challenges such as coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both navies have opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. In addition, ground exists for cooperation on a number of issues common to both navies.

India-Chile PTA | PIB Summary

India and Chile have entered into another milestone in their trade relations as an agreement on the expansion of India-Chile PTA which was signed on 6th September 2016 is finally being implemented. The Union Cabinet had approved the expansion of PTA in April 2016.

The expanded PTA would immensely benefit both sides as a wide array of concessions has been offered by both sides on a number of tariff lines which will facilitate more two-way trade.

Background | India-Chile PTA

  • India and Chile had earlier signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on March 8, 2006, which came into force with effect from August 2007.
  • The original PTA had a limited number of tariff lines wherein both sides had extended tariff concessions to each other. India’s offer list to Chile consisted of only 178 tariff lines whereas Chile’s offer list to India contained 296 tariff lines at the 8-digit level.

Highlights | India-Chile PTA

  • The expanded PTA has a wider coverage wherein Chile has offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) ranging from 30%-100% and India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 tariff lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10%-100%.
  • This would facilitate exporters of both sides to take the advantage of tariff concessions as per the expanded PTA immediately which covers around 96% of bilateral trade.

India-Chile trade | India-Chile PTA

  • Chile is the fourth largest trading partner of India in LAC region after Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina.
  • India’s bilateral trade has grown substantially to reach a level of US$ 3,646.45 million during 2014-15 as compared to US$ 2,655.35 million in 2011-12 as per the Department of Commerce statistics.
  • However, during the year 2015-16, bilateral trade declined by (-) 27.60% and stood at US$ 2,639.99 million with exports US$ 679.32 million and imports US$ 1,960.67 million.
  • The decline in bilateral trade was due to extraneous reasons such as fall in prices of crude oil and international commodities.
  • During the last few years, bilateral trade has been in favor of Chile because of import of high volume of copper ore which constitutes more than 88% of the imports from Chile.
  • India’s exports to Chile are diverse which consist of transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, yarn of polyester fibres, tyres and tubes, manufacture of metals, articles of apparel, organic/inorganic and agrochemicals, textiles, readymade garments, plastic goods, leather products, engineering goods, imitation jewellery, sports goods and handicrafts. Major items of Import from Chile are copper ore and concentrates, iodine, copper anodes, copper cathodes, molybdenum ores & concentrates, lithium carbonates & oxide, metal scrap, inorganic chemicals, pulp & waste paper, fruits & nuts excluding cashews, fertilizers, and machinery.

Conclusion | India-Chile PTA

Keeping in view that Chile is the founding member of the Pacific Alliance to which India is an Observer Member, implementing the expanded PTA could deepen its engagement with the emerging trade bloc. 

Astana Summit 2017 and Beyond

After being an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) since 2005, India finally gained entry to the multilateral grouping during the Astana Summit 2017 held in June.

Background | Astana Summit 2017

India had applied for the full membership in 2014 after weighing very judicially the opportunities and challenges that might be presented to it after its accession to the SCO.

Significance of SCO | Astana Summit 2017

  • Undoubtedly, the SCO has evolved over the years as a very significant regional organisation for forging cooperation amongst its members in diverse fields.
  • With both India and Pakistan becoming members the profile of SCO has been further enhanced as the group now represents close to half the humanity of the globe and 23 percent of the world’s GDP.
  • Besides the Central Asian Republics (less Turkmenistan) it brings together three major players in Asia- Russia, China and India on a shared platform.

The Russia-India-China trio

Besides Russia-India-China (RIC) forum, Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) and the G-20, the SCO will provide another platform for regular interaction Russia, China, India and other members to discuss mutual concerns, interests and find solutions for moving forward on cooperative endeavours.

India-Pakistan rivalry in SCO | Astana Summit 2017

  • There is a possibility that major powers like Russia and China might be tempted to mediate between the India and Pakistan. But such a step would not be welcome by India as New Delhi’s policy on the issue has been to resolve the India-Pakistan issues bilaterally i.e. without the intervention of any third party.
  • Pakistan would be more inclined to bring up the bilateral issues directly or indirectly. This kind of propensity on the part of Pakistan needs to be discouraged by the other SCO members and in any case, the SCO charter does not allow bilateral problems to be aired on the multilateral platform.
  • The regular top leadership and ministerial meetings around the SCO imply that both Indian and Pakistani officials at a senior level from Prime Minister and head of state meetings to Health Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Interior Minister Meetings would have the opportunity to meet each other at least once a year. This will provide another platform where the two countries would have an opportunity to interact.

India-China cooperation in SCO |Astana Summit 2017

  • Both leaders discussed economic cooperation, trade, investment and connectivity issues, the establishment of industrial parks, cooperation in railways. Discussions also revolved around security and defence issues including counter-terrorism cooperation, security cooperation and defence exchanges.
  • Thus, the SCO would become an additional platform between India and China for regular exchange of views on a wide range of issues in the SCO from investment and connectivity to joint counter-terrorism exercises both on the multilateral and bilateral basis.

A road to Central Asian Republics | Astana Summit 2017

  • Insofar as the relationship with CARs is concerned, its potential remains underexploited even while India considers them as part of India’s extended neighbourhood and strategically and economically significant for forging closer ties. These countries also view India as a benign balancer in the ongoing power play in the region.
  • The SCO will provide a good forum to expand on issues such as the economy, trade, connectivity and counter-terrorism cooperation which are key objectives of India’s policy in this region.
  • Central Asia’s desire for diversifying hydro-power and energy export routes would correspond with India’s quest for diversifying imports.
  • The membership of SCO will likely provide greater accessibility to gas and oilfields in the region.
  • India, Russia and Iran are also founding members of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) which has been in works for quite some time and which seeks to connect India to Central Asia through Iran and beyond to Russia and Europe.
  • Moreover, India is in the process of joining Ashgabat Agreement which the Indian government approved last year; the agreement provides for a transit corridor across Central Asia and the Middle East through linkages between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran before reaching the Persian Gulf and into Oman. This will facilitate India’s trade with Central Asia and the Eurasian region and it builds upon the INSTC.
  • With Russia as a member and Iran as an observer, there is a possibility of cooperation with China and other SCO members to support connectivity projects and the development of INSTC.

Counter-terrorism agenda | Astana Summit 2017

  • It is expected that engagement with the SCO countries will provide a higher degree of clarity and coordination of policies on this important country which has implications for regional security.
  • SCO platform would provide an opportunity to the members to coordinate and configure their approaches on the regional security issues including Afghanistan.
  • India’s participation in SCOs Tashkent-based Regional Counter-terrorism Structure (RCTS) is likely to increase levels of intelligence sharing, as well as help the others develop counter-terrorism strategies based on India’s long experience of it.
  • The SCO and the UN secretariats have also signed a joint declaration on cooperation in countering international terrorism in 2010 in Tashkent which forms the basis for the interaction between the two organisations. Thus mutual exchanges on counter-terrorism issues would be beneficial for all the stakeholders.

Conclusion | Astana Summit 2017

Overall, India’s membership of SCO is a positive development and New Delhi needs to take advantage of the same by being proactive on the platform. India also needs to enhance its economic relationship with CARs which has been far below the potential. Connectivity woes also need to be addressed through fast implementation of projects and by pushing several existing joint projects. Mutual Complementarities of connectivity projects in the region also need to be explored.

The UN Human Settlements Programme | PIB Summary

Points to ponder

  • Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu to Chair the Governing Council Meeting in Nairobi from today.
  • Shri Naidu also to chair Bureau meeting of Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing & UD 

Introduction

India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world, after 10 years. UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.

UN-Habitat

  • Since the UN-Habitat came into being in 1978, it is only the third time that India has been elected to lead this important organisation after 2007 and 1988.
  • As an inter-governmental policy-making and decision-making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote an integrated and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on the human settlement issue.
  • The theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council to be chaired by Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu from today is Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda with the focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and planning and financing sustainable urbanisation and integrated human settlements.
  • The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador last year.

India’s efforts for sustainable urban development

Shri Naidu elaborated on the integrated, inclusive and sustainable urban development model of India through various new missions like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan MantriAwasYojana. He said these missions are addressing deficits in different kinds of infrastructure including affordable housing in a convergence mode.

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GSLV launches South Asia Satellite | PIB Summary

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) successfully launched the 2230 kg South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The launch of GSLV was its eleventh and took place from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India. This is the fourth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.

 About South Asia Satellite 

  • South Asia Satellite is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide a variety of communication services over the South Asian region. For this, it is equipped with Ku-band transponders.
  • In the coming days, the satellite orbit will be raised from its present GTO to the final circular Geostationary Orbit (GSO) by firing the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages.
  • The South Asia Satellite will be commissioned into service after the completion of orbit raising operations and the satellite’s positioning in its designated slot in the GSO following in-orbit testing of its payloads.

GSLV Highlights

  • Space diplomacy has touched new heights with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique gift in the sky to South Asian neighbours.
  • The gift of a communications satellite for use by neighbours at no cost has perhaps no precedent worldwide.
  • The satellite, which weighs over 2 tonnes, has been fabricated in three years at a cost of over Rs 230 crores.
  • Its footprint that extends all over South Asia.
  • The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India’s neighbours can utilise to increase communications.
  • Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own programming.
  • The satellite will facilitate DTH television, VSAT links, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support. It will provide critical communication links in times of disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and tsunamis.
  • Heads of Government from all the seven South Asian nations who are benefiting from the satellite, connected via video conference, in a unique celebration of the successful launch.