India offers a helping hand to its Neighbor Bhutan through Space Training

India and Bhutan are a clear indication of the greatness that comes about once two countries choose to collaborate to better their states. On one hand, India has been pushing for a ‘neighborhood first’ policy. Bhutan being a neighbor in need, so one can’t imagine a better way for India to act on the policy. On the other hand, under the leadership of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, Bhutan is planning to develop its country as much as possible. Its developing pillar is advanced technology such as ICT as well as space technology. That’s where India comes in to assist accordingly.

India has welcomed four Bhutanese space engineers. The team will have the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at its disposal so that they get to learn as much as possible about space. The timing is fantastic since India has plans of launching its satellite soon. As per the schedule, the training has more than one phase. The first one commenced on December 28, 2020, and will continue until February 25, and the location will be Bengaluru. The precise venue will be the location’s ISRO UR Rao Satellite Centre. Its topics will include not only theoretical but also technical areas. The engineers will also visit test facilities and laboratories.

There is still no schedule for the second phase. However, during this phase, the Bhutanese, in collaboration with the ISRO, will start developing a Bhutan’s satellite, INS-2B. It will not be the first time for Bhutan to be in such a collaboration. After all, its first satellite, Bhutan -1, was after the state worked together with Japan. The launch of the nano-satellite was in 2018 by a SpaceX rocket.

Equally important, it will not be the first time India and Bhutan collaborate in space matters. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, together with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering were together in August 2019. Together, the two were in Thimphu, where they inaugurated the South Asia Satellite (SAS)’s ground earth station. It is during this time that the duo decided to work together and develop a satellite for Bhutan. Another thing that came about was a geo-portal system development. With geospatial data and remote sensing, managing disaster and natural resources would be easy for Bhutan.

The SSA become a success with the support of ISRO. Initially, when India was launching it in 2017, it was meant for South Asia countries. Any member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) can use it for VSATs and other free services for television broadcasts. One of the great beneficiaries of SAS is Bhutan. The impact of its socio-economic development is indisputable. From disaster management to communications, including increased bandwidth, its effect is unquestionable, no doubt. According to the Indian embassy, the collaboration is just but the beginning.