02:14 GMT20 April 2021
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    Islamabad is devoting more resources to Pakistan’s space program as part of its effort to become less reliant on foreign-owned space assets, according to a new report.

    In the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, the Pakistani government will spend more than $40 million on its Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), the country's space agency, including on launching new satellites. In 2011, Islamabad spent about $35 million on SUPARCO.

    The Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite, for instance, is slated to launch in June.

    The agency plans to build a new research center in Karachi while allocating space centers in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore connected with the Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1) some $22 million, Defense News reported Friday.

    The satellites Pakistan wants to launch will have both military and civilian applications and will help Islamabad keep eyes on its perennial rival New Delhi, Pakistani media reported. About 1.35 billion Pakistani rupees (roughly $11.66 million) will go toward procuring the PakSat-MM1.

    Islamabad has previously relied on Chinese satellite data for its various needs.

    "China has offered assistance and services to other developing countries. We provided our satellite sata to countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Peru to help them monitor floods and fires," Li Guoping, a spokesman for the China National Space Administration, said April 23 in Beijing.

    Brian Coughley, Australia's former defense attache in Islamabad, told Defense News, "I have no doubt this has been [in] the cards for some time and that the Chinese are helping."


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