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ISRO’S New Station In Bhutan

ISRO’S New Station In Bhutan


  • GS2 || International Relations || India & it’s Neighbours || Bhutan

Why in news?

  • India is setting up a satellite tracking and data reception centre in the Himalayan state of Bhutan that will also strategically serve to counter a similar Chinese facility in the region.

How is this beneficial for both bhutan and india?

  • This strategy is significant in the backdrop of the Doklam crisis, when the Chinese tried to construct a road at a tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China.
  • Isro meanwhile can use these ground stations to communicate with its own satellites.
  • The station in Thimphu is seen as India’s counter to the satellite tracking infrastructure created by China in Tibet.
  • Gsat-9, popularly known as ‘Saarc satellite’, was launched by India for its neighbours in 2017, India is currently helping its friendly countries set up ground stations for effective communication, better governance and banking services and for promoting education and agriculture in their remote areas through satellite services.

India- China factor

  • China has established an advanced satellite tracking centre and astronomical observatory at Ngari in Tibet Autonomous Region, about 125 km away from the Line of Actual Control, which serves as the de-facto border between India and China.
  • The facility in Tibet is so advanced that apart from tracking Indian satellites, it can also “blind” them.
  • China has already demonstrated Anti Satellite tech. China has tested two direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles: the SC–19 and the larger DN–2.

India building ground stations

  • As part of New Delhi’s space diplomacy, a tool the foreign ministry has been trying to wield as part of its neighbourhood-first policy to counter China’s influence in the region, India will set up five large ground stations and more than 500 small terminals in five neighbouring countries – Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • These ground stations will help these countries use the SAARC satellite

About South Asia satellite

  • Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the users of the multi-dimensional facilities provided by the satellite.
  • The South Asia Satellite provides crucial information on tele-medicine, tele-education, banking and television broadcasting opportunities.
  • It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables collection of real-time weather data and helps in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations.