High Commission of India
Speech by Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, High Commissioner of India on the occasion of signing of Agreement between India and Bangladesh concerning to “Orbit Frequency Coordination of ‘South Asia Satellite’ proposed at 48oE”
His Excellency, Mr. Shahriar Alam, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
His Excellency, Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Secretary, Post and Telecommunications Division, Mr. Shyam Sundar Sikdar
Honorable Secretary, Post and Telecommunications Division, Mr. Shyam Sundar Sikdar
Chairman, Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission, Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood
Ladies and Gentlemen
The signing of the Agreement concerning the “Orbit Frequency Coordination of ‘South Asia Satellite’ proposed at 48oE” represents a landmark in cooperation between our two countries in high technology.
2. As you are aware, it was at the 2014 SAARC Summit in Kathmandu that the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi offered to launch a South Asia satellite as a “gift to India's neighbours”. This is part of the Prime Minister’s ‘neighbours first’ foreign policy - to add substance to ties with neighbors and further our common agenda of regional integration.
3. 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. 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. 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 services. India has designed and constructed this Satellite at a cost of $400 million.
4. This project signifies the beginning of a collaborative venture between India and Bangladesh in the satellite arena which has the potential to revolutionize the lives of the people of our two countries. This is also an expression of our strong cultural bonds which have withstood the test of time and reflects the deepening engagement between India and Bangladesh in the socio-economic and political fronts.
5. I also congratulate Bangladesh on the various advancements it has made with regard to taking broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas across the country and the successes achieved so far with regard to the ‘Bangabandhu Satellite’. Let me take this opportunity to offer India’s commitment and support to Bangladesh for the launch of not only the Bangabandhu-1 satellite but also future satellites..
6. Prime Minister Modi has stated that India's space programme is driven by a vision of service to humanity and is an important instrument of our commitment to the progress of humanity. We have also developed our own satellite-based navigation system. It may be worth mentioning here that our space program is indigenous and generations of our space scientists have worked to make India a self-reliant space power despite international hurdles.
7. You may be aware that last month India set a world record by launching 104 satellites owned by 6 different countries from a single rocket. ISRO's missions beyond Earth's orbit include Chandrayaan-1 (to the Moon) and Mars Orbiter Mission (to Mars). ISRO also plans to follow up with Chandrayaan-2 and missions to Venus and near-Earth objects such as asteroids and comets.
8. I would like to thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh for supporting this regional initiative and the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunication and BTRC for their support and cooperation. A special word of thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its facilitation of the agreement.
9. I am confident that the launching of the South Asia Satellite would contribute to the re-integration of economies of the South Asia region and also connect, empower and transform the lives of our people.