Dhaka formally joins South Asia Satellite

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widenews desk: Bangladesh and India signed an agreement on the ‘South Asia Satellite’ formally on 23 March joining the Indian government’s initiative.

The South Asia Satellite is a communication satellite covering the South Asia region for the use of participating countries to host applications in the areas of education, health and emergency communication.

Chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Shahjahan Mahmood and Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla signed the agreement titled ‘Orbit Frequency Coordination of proposed at 48oE’.

All the South Asian countries, except Pakistan, will be part of this unique project binding the region in a cooperative and collaborative endeavour for the benefit of the people of the participating countries. “It represents a landmark in cooperation between our two countries in high technology,” said High Commissioner Shringla.

The benefits associated with the participation in the project include tele-education, tele-medicine and inter-government networks, emergency communication for disaster situation, television broadcast and DTH television services.

India has designed and constructed this Satellite at a cost of $400 million.

The High Commissioner thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for supporting this regional initiative. “I’m confident that the launching of the South Asia Satellite will contribute to the re-integration of the economies of the South Asia region and also connect, empower and transform the lives of our people,” he said.

Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said, this landmark agreement will help Bangladesh get connected with hi-tech cooperation in the region. “It’ll help send out a message to other regions that we’re not lagging behind.”

India, through the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), will launch a 2-ton class communication satellite with 12-Ku band transponders (36 Mhz each) using ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk-II) for serving the South Asia region.

There is a potential for each participating country to use a dedicated transponder with the capacity of 36 to 54 Mhz for its own internal use. Each country will be responsible for content generation and its use.

The announcement of the launch of the satellite was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 SAARC Summit in Kathmandu as a ‘gift to India’s neighbours’.

This satellite is a reflection of India’s commitment to the development of the South Asian region and an expression to share its expertise and technology for the benefit of the region, says Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and senior BTRC officials were also present at the signing ceremony.

If things go as per plan, the satellite will be able to go for commercial operation by April 2018.

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