A regional newspaper in India has come out with a startling disclosure that the launch of GSAT-1 was stalled under pressure from the United States. Quoting federal intelligence agency sources, the paper – Kalakaumudi in Malayalam published from Kerala, reported that the decision was taken at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office.
The directive to stall the event was communicated just 10 minutes before the launch, after due approval by the apex Launch Authorisation Board (LAB). ISRO, which had postponed its second Lunar Mission in July 2019 had rectified the snags within 48 hours and launched the mission within a week. But in the case of GSAT-1, there has been no such update from ISRO about the next launch date.
The newspaper reported that the US objected to the launch as some of the components of the six sensors used on the satellite were obtained from foreign sources and it was against the strategic interest of America.
There has been no official response to the newspaper report so far.
GSAT-1 is capable of observing Indian territory round-the-clock from its geostationary orbit over 35,000 kilometres above the Earth. It would help India’s territorial integrity and security by observing any movement by neighbouring countries on both the western and eastern borders simultaneously.