South Asia Satellite Dilemma: Nepal Yet to Figure Out The Upside

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Nepal is yet to work out how to reap benefits from the South Asia Satellite that India launched as a ‘gift to its neighbours on May 5, a media report said.

Nepal and India had signed a MoU in March 2016, stating no objection to the launching of the satellite and that Nepal was eager to benefit from it.

The Nepali side, however, has yet to figure out what exactly it wants from the satellite and how to get it.

 

The Himalayan Times quoted Bhrigu Dhunga, who heads the South Asia Division of Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying, “We are yet to decide which services we’ll use and what will be its modality.”

According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the communication satellite aims to provide participating countries television services and communications technology for bank ATMs and e-governance, and may even serve as a backup for cellular networks, especially in places where the terrestrial connectivity is weak.

Soon after the launch of SAS, leaders of the six benefiting nations in a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the gesture as a new face of cooperation in space for common good of the neighbourhood.

On the occasion, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal stressed on taking the best possible benefits from the satellite services, as it would help provide communication services in the mountainous and hilly regions of Nepal.

The Indian side has offered to provide at least one transponder with a bandwidth of 24,000 to 36,000 MHz.

A senior diplomat at the Embassy of India in Kathmandu noted that Nepal would get two transponders on this satellite, and India would provide necessary training and orientation, the Himalayan Times said.

India has already proposed to impart training to Nepali engineers at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, but the Nepali side is yet to respond to the proposal, the daily said.

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