India-Bhutan friendship to touch skies, literally! ISRO to help Bhutan launch its first satellite in 2021

By Financial express

Four Bhutanese engineers have arrived to undergo training at the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru.

The training which has started from December 28, 2020, will go on up to February 25, 2021. It will be in two phases – the first phase will involve various theoretical and technical aspects as well as visits to laboratories and test facilities.

The second phase will have the Bhutanese teamwork with ISRO in activities towards developing the small satellite for Bhutan, INS-2B.

India & Bhutan Space Cooperation
India and Bhutan had in August 2019, agreed to work together in developing a small satellite for Bhutan jointly. It is in line with the vision of the King of Bhutan to harness space technology for the benefit of its people.

Towards this, a Joint Working Group (JWG) has been formed to assist with the implementation of the project, which also includes developing a geo-portal system. This system using remote sensing and geo-spatial data is going to help Bhutan for natural resources and disaster management.

Last month (November 20, 2020), Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr Lotay Tshering had a virtual meeting. During the meeting, it was announced that the small satellite for Bhutan will be launched in 2021.

It was also announced that India will extend the capacity building to Bhutanese engineers for this purpose.

Keeping in line with this proposal, a team of four Bhutanese space engineers from the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, under the Ministry of Information and Communications of Bhutan, are here in India for their training.

India has been working closely with the government of Bhutan in the area of space cooperation, and last August both Prime Ministers had inaugurated the Ground Earth Station of South Asia Satellite (SAS) in Thimphu jointly. In 2017, the SAS was launched by India as a gift to the countries in South Asia Region —including Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives and the Ground Earth Station has been constructed with the support of ISRO.

The SAS is expected to have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of Bhutan in areas including communication and disaster management.

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