Web Desk — India launched a communications satellite on Friday for its neighbors to share, part of its efforts to build goodwill in the region and counter Chinese influence, but Pakistan said it would stay away from the project.
India calls satellite ‘gift to South Asia’, Pakistan says no thanks https://t.co/f1nmrJKqeh
— Reuters Pakistan (@ReutersPakistan) May 5, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to office promising to strengthen ties with neighbors such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Pakistan, has called the satellite a gift to south Asia.
So far Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have signed up to make use of the satellite. Pakistan said it was working on its own satellite and did not join.
The South Asia Satellite will offer participating countries television services and communications technology for bank ATMs and e-governance, and may even serve as a backup for cellular networks, especially in places where the terrestrial connectivity is weak, the Indian foreign ministry said.
India is trying to push back against China’s expanding involvement in infrastructure building across south Asia, by offering financial and technical aid of its own.