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India to launch satellite it renamed after Pakistan exit

The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch its GSAT-9 satellite it renamed after Pakistan opted out from the project, reported Sputnik news on Wednesday.

ISRO will launch the communication satellite, designed for a mission life of more than 12 years, from its GSLV-09 rocket which will take off on May 5 from India’s Sriharikota spaceport.

"It’s going up in the first week of May. Pakistan is not included in that as they did not want to be part of the project,” PTI quoted ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar as saying. “That is why ISRO changed its name to South Asia satellite instead of the initial proposed Saarc satellite.”

Pakistan opted out of the project after diplomatic relations tensed between the two countries. New Delhi boycotted a Saarc moot in Islamabad in wake of a militant attack that killed over a dozen Indian Army soldiers in Uri.

“Pakistan has decided to opt out of the satellite project. So it cannot be called a Saarc satellite. It will be a South Asia satellite,” Vikas Swarup, then Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, informed reporters during a regular media briefing last March.

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