NEW DELHI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- India will launch its ambitious South Asian satellite in March next year, the state-owned space agency said Tuesday.
The satellite was pitched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 for the benefit of SAARC countries and it was earlier slated to be launched in December this year. It was originally named SAARC satellite, but after Pakistan opted out of the project, it's renamed South Asian satellite.
"SAARC satellite will be launched in March next year," the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) head A.S. Kiran Kumar told the media in the southern Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram.
The satellite will enable full range of applications and services to South Asian countries in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz television, direct-to-home, very small aperture terminals, tele-education, tele-medicine and disaster management support.
India has an active space program dating back to 1965, and in 1975 it became the first South Asian nation to launch a satellite. India is also the only South Asian nation to have successfully launched satellites into space, while other regional nations have struggled and lacked in such progress.