What is behind Pakistan's ambitious space programme?

What is behind Pakistan's ambitious space programme?
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is planning to launch an ambitious space programme during the next fiscal year (2018-19) at a cost of Rs 4.7 billion in a possible bid to “keep an eye on the Indian side”. The move has been necessitated following active US cooperation with the Indian satellite programme.

Pakistani defence analyst Maria Sultan has said, “There are two unusual developments in the region effecting the strategic situation — first of all Pakistan has to keep an eye on Indian side and previously their programme had limited quality advancements but now the US has active cooperation with the Indian satellite programme.”

The report further said that Pakistan’s space programme is being pursued to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign satellites for civil as well as military purposes. Pakistani authorities have allocated Rs 4.7 billion to the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (SUPARCO). This includes the cost of three new projects worth Rs 2.55 billion, said the report.

Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat- MM1), to be built at the cost of Rs 1.35 billion, is also a part of the project.

The neighbouring country is also planning Pakistan Space Centre in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, established at an investment of Rs 1 billion. A Space Application Research Centre is also being planned in Karachi at the cost of Rs 200 million in the next fiscal year (2018-19).

OpEd