India's ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj (File photo)
India's ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj (File photo)

Inauguration of ISRO's earth station will give fillip to Bhutan's communication, broadcasting sectors

By Malavika Kaur (ANI) | Updated: Aug 16, 2019 15:33 IST

Thimphu [Bhutan], Aug 16 (ANI): The inauguration of the ground earth station, built by ISRO will give immense benefits to Bhutan in terms of communication, broadcasting and disaster management sectors, India's ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj said on Friday.
"In 2017, India launched the South Asia satellite. Bhutan has been provided with a transponder as a consequence of which a ground earth space station was built. It is now ready and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this will be connected to terminals across the country, giving Bhutan immense benefits in terms of communication, broadcasting and disaster management," Kamboj, in an exclusive interview, told ANI.
Underlining that space is a whole new sector opening up between India and Bhutan, the envoy said that Bhutanese engineers have been trained in India under the ISRO's 'Unnati' capacity building and training programme and the process will continue.
"Bhutan will also be benefitting from the training and capacity building programme that India will impart to Bhutan in terms of analysing data from India's remote sensing satellite," Kamboj said.
The South Asia Satellite was launched in 2017 and is a geostationary communications satellite, helping to meet the growing telecommunications and broadcasting needs of six countries in the region namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Talking about Modi's upcoming visit to Bhutan, Kamboj said that 10 MoUs will be signed between both sides.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bhutan may be seen as a continuum leading to a strengthened India-Bhutan partnership. 10 MoUs will be signed between the two countries and there will be five inaugurations which will take bilateral ties to the next level," she said.
Divulging the agenda of the visit, Kamboj remarked, "The launch of the RuPay card is something that has been developed in the last two to three years. Eventually, it is going to be launched. In the financial sector, we will be working towards the launching of the BHIM app."
"All the initiatives that you see in this visit are the result of a lot of hard work undertaken by Prime Minister Modi during the last five years," she added.
During Modi's meetings with the Bhutanese leadership, both sides will discuss the full range of bilateral relations between the two sides and will also discuss international and regional issues of common concerns, Kamboj said.
"Prime Minister Modi's visit is coming at a fortuitous time for Bhutan as it will shortly graduate to middle-income country status. This is a very unique development paradigm followed because on the one hand, while there is economic growth and prosperity, at the same time, they balanced it off with the famed happiness concept," she stressed.
"Over the years, India has played a major role in the socio-economic development of the country for the aspirations and priorities of the people of Bhutan," the envoy said.
On the Sankosh multipurpose hydroelectric project, Kamboj said that discussions have started between both countries and hoped that an agreement would be reached soon.
Highlighting the steps to improve education linkage between India and Bhutan, the envoy said that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector.
"The Royal University of Bhutan will sign four MoUs -- one each with the IITs of Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur and NIIT Silchar...This is a very positive development in the STEM subjects," Kamboj said.
She also said that there will be a launch of commemorative stamps marking 50 years of hydropower cooperation between India and Bhutan.
Bhutan has lauded India's decisions on Jammu and Kashmir calling them "bold, courageous and forward-looking", Kamboj stressed.
India recently scrapped Article 370 which accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, hiving the region into two union territories of Ladakh- without a legislature, and Jammu and Kashmir- with the legislature.
"Bhutan has fully supported India in the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, they have recognised that this is purely an internal matter of India. They have lauded it as a very bold, courageous and forward-looking step that will ensure the socio-economic development of Jammu and Kashmir and also bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the Union Territory," she said.
Kamboj underlined that Bhutan has extended completely unequivocal support for India's bid for permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
"Bhutan wholeheartedly supports India's bid for permanent membership at the UNSC. In fact, Bhutan has said that it is an anomaly that India is not today in the UNSC when it should be. The Prime Minister of Bhutan on September 22, 2017, had clearly enunciated this. They offer wholehearted support to India for a permanent seat in an expanded security council," she remarked.
Preparations to welcome Modi are in full swing in the Himalayan nation. The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Paro on August 17 for a two-day bilateral visit.
On the second day of his visit, Modi is scheduled to visit the National Memorial Chorten. He will also be attending a cultural performance at Tashichhodzong - a Buddhist monastery -- hosted in honour of the visiting leader.
Modi will depart for New Delhi from Paro on Sunday. (ANI)