The Fiscal budget for 2018-2019 may not have been a very popular reveal for most, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few exciting surprises in it. The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (Suparco) for the upcoming fiscal year 2018-19 has been given a noticeable hike in budget, with a total of Rs. 4.70 billion allocated.

The projects include the development of Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite, plans to establish Pakistan Space Centre in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and the development of a Space Application Research Centre in Karachi, indicating a new era for space science and research in Pakistan.

This is a relatively new sphere of development for Pakistan to allocate part of the budget too, but a necessary one considering the times, where space programs have now become a competitive wedge between countries. A developed space program is an indication of power and influence for a country due to the many necessary functions that space technology fulfils, such as monitoring and communication. Not relying on satellites from United States or France for these functions will relieve Pakistan from dependence on those countries, and develop some much needed self-reliance.

Where space politics has transitioned into real world diplomacy politics, this step was needed in this moment due to Pakistan’s vulnerable diplomatic status with India. With US’s recent active satellite cooperation with India, Pakistan needed a way to safe-guard itself from a possible cold space war, by amplifying up its own space program.

A space program may take some funds from the budget but its successful establishment will in the long-run tip the balance of payments in our favour, with the decrease in the highly expensive imports of space technology. With rising good-quality science schools, space research could become a bourgeoning sphere for scientists and engineers of this country to invest their career in.