New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved on Wednesday, 30th December, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Bhutan on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space signed and exchanged on 19th November, by both sides at Bengaluru and Thimpu, according to a press statement from the Cabinet.
This MoU shall enable India and Bhutan to pursue cooperation in potential interest areas, such as remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology, according to the Cabinet’s statement.
The MoU would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from the Department of Space (DoS), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) of Bhutan, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementation.
The statement added that the signed MoU would lead to concluding specific implementing of the arrangement on specific areas of cooperation and setting up of a Joint Working Group to work out the plan of action, including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.
Cooperation with the Government of Bhutan through this MoU will lead to develop a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity, the statement added.
India and Bhutan have been in discussions to establish formal space cooperation. A template for inter-Governmental MoU for space cooperation was shared with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in November 2017 to be taken up with Bhutan. This draft was further discussed along with other cooperative proposals during the bilateral meeting in February 2020, the Cabinet statement revealed.
After a few iterations through diplomatic channels, both sides arrived at a workable draft of the MoU which was processed for internal approvals. After obtaining the necessary approvals, the MoU was signed on 19th November 2020 by both sides and exchanged.
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