Pakistan, which had earlier decided to stay away from the South Asia satellite that was launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) yesterday, has now blamed India for its decision, an Indian Express report said. The neighbouring country had earlier agreed to be part of the project but soon pulled out of it forcing India to change the name from SAARC Satellite to South Asia Satellite, the report added.
“During the 18th SAARC Summit, India offered to ‘gift’ a satellite to SAARC member states, to be named as the so-called ‘SAARC Satellite’. Subsequently, however, India made it clear that it would build, launch and operate the satellite solely,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria was quoted saying by The Indian Express.
Stating that Pakistan was willing to share its expertise with India, he further accused India of not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis, he said, “it was not possible for Pakistan to support it as a regional project under the umbrella of SAARC. The Satellite was then renamed as ‘South Asia Satellite’ as the project was taken out of the SAARC ambit,” as per the report. Yesterday, India fulfilled its promise to launch a satellite to serve the needs of all South Asian countries. During the 2014 SAARC summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the commitment to launch the satellite.
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After the launch the prime minister also thanked leaders of neighbouring countries– Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen, Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who had joined the satellite launch event through video conferencing, the report added.