Launch of India-Bhutan SAT marks new era in ties: Bhutan King

Delegates from Bhutan during a press conference by ISRO Chairperson S. Somanath after the launch of PSLV-C54 at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota on November 26, 2022.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The launch of a joint India-Bhutan satellite, among the nine satellites launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday, marks a “new era” in relations between the two countries, said Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Bhutan’s Information and Communications Minister Karma Donnen Wangdi led a delegation to Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh to witness the launch of the “India-Bhutan SAT”, otherwise known as the ISRO Nano Satellite 2 for Bhutan (INS-2B) aboard the PSLV-C54 that has been jointly developed by scientists from both countries.

India had assisted in training Bhutanese engineers to build and test satellites, as well as to process and analyse the satellite data that will be received, the Ministry of External Affairs said. The satellite is expected to provide Bhutan with high resolution images for land-mapping and managing its natural resources, agriculture and forests.

This is Bhutan’s second nano-satellite, after its engineers worked on BHUTAN-1 in 2018, which was developed in Japan and sent into space from the United States on the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.

In a written message delivered by Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar said that the project marks “a new era in the relations between our two nations extending to the frontiers of space”. He added, “It is an endeavour befitting out time, showcasing modern India’s technological and scientific capabilities and reflecting Bhutan’s aspirations.”

In a tweet responding to the message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the India-Bhutan satellite was a “testament” to India’s “special relationship with the people of Bhutan”. During Mr. Modi’s 2019 visit to Bhutan, the ground earth station of the South Asia Satellite in Thimphu had been inaugurated.

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