Bangladesh has signed a deal for orbit frequency coordination of the South Asian Satellite proposed at 48 degree East with India.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood and Harsha Bardhan Shringla, the Indian high commissioner to Dhaka, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries at the BTRC office on Thursday.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam was present at the occasion as chief guest. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haq, Posts and Telecommunications Division Secretary Shyam Sundor Sikder, BTRC Vice-Chairman Brig Gen (retd) Ahsan Habib were also present.
Harsha Bardhan Shringla said the signing represents a landmark in hi-tech cooperation between the two countries.
“I am very happy that Bangladesh, as a close friend, partner and neighbour of India, has agreed to join this initiative, the first of its kind in the region,” said Harsha Bardhan.
The South Asian satellite is a communication satellite covering the South Asian region for the use of participating countries to host applications in the areas of education, health and emergency communication. The benefits associated with participation in the project include tele-education, tele-medicine and inter-government networks, emergency communication for disaster situation, television broadcast and DTH television service.
“I am confident that the launching of the South Asian Satellite would contribute to the re-integration of economies of the South Asian region and also connect, empower and transform the lives of our people,” Harsha Bardhan said.
This move was part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s "neighbour first foreign policy," he added.
The South Asian satellite is almost ready and it would be launched within a very short time, he said.
BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said the satellite will be located at 48 degree East and the Bangabandhu 1 satellite will be located at 119.1 degree east.
“So, there is a 70 degree difference which will not affect any satellite frequency range,” he said.
Shariar Alam said the South Asian Satellite must integrate member countries of this region.
“Satellite signing agreement with India is possible due to two country’s sincerity,” he added.
Bangladesh is going to launch its own Bangabandhu 1 satellite on December 16 this year.
Around 75% of the work is complete and the satellite is expected to be ready for launch by October.
In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first offered to launch the South Asian satellite as a “gift for India’s neighbours” during the Saarc Summit held in Kathmandu.
Pakistan opposed the Saarc satellite proposal while Afghanistan also stood against it. According to Saarc rules, if any member country opposes any decision, it will not be implemented.
Later, the Saarc satellite project was renamed as South Asian Satellite due to this opposition.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is designing, building and launching the satellite for an approximate budget of $400 million.
The satellite has 12 transponders and Bangladesh will get one transponder free of cost and can choose any of them.