The following are excerpts of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks after witnessing the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C21 from Sriharikota:
“I am delighted at having witnessed today’s launch of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle – C21, carrying two foreign satellites…As Indian Space Research Organisation’s 100th space mission, today’s launch is a milestone in our nation’s space capabilities.
I would also like to congratulate EADS Astrium of France and Osaka Institute of Technology of Japan for the successful launch of their satellites. The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the commencement of our space programme. Given the string of successes … we often forget how challenging space technology is and what a relatively new field it continues to be. We owe a great deal to pioneers like Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Prof. Satish Dhawan. I remember working closely with Prof. Dhawan when I was a Member of the Space Commission in the late 1970s, and I am privileged to have had this long association with our space endeavours. It is befitting that this new state-of-the-art mission control centre has been named after Prof. Satish Dhawan.
Questions are sometimes asked about whether a poor country like India can afford a space programme and whether the funds spent on space exploration, albeit modest, could be better utilized elsewhere. This misses the point that a nation’s state of development is finally a product of its technological prowess. When we look at the enormous societal and national benefits that have been generated in diverse fields, there can be no doubt that they were right.
For additional information on India’s foreign satellite launch see the chart below: