India launches 'invaluable' South Asia satellite 5 May 2017 India
India has successfully launched a new communications satellite for South Asia from Sriharikota space centre.
The satellite, funded entirely by India, is aimed at helping regional countries boost their telecommunication and broadcasting services.
Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan will benefit from this satellite. But Pakistan has opted out from the initiative.
Analysts have called the launch Indian PM Narendra Modi's "space diplomacy".
In a tweet, Mr Modi congratulated the scientists on the launch, saying he was "very proud of them".
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took three years to build the satellite, which was launched by its reliable Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India's neighbours can use to improve their communications services.
Each country will get access to at least one transponder, but they will have to develop their own ground infrastructure.
The satellite is also capable of providing crucial communication links between the nations in times of natural disasters.