The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is training officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan on applications of remote sensing technology for good governance.
The five-day workshop, being conducted for about 35 officials in collaboration with Bhutan's GovTech agency, began on Monday (11 September) in capital Thimphu.
Experts from various ISRO centres — the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Space Applications Centre (SAC), and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) — are imparting the training.
Such training is part of the India-Bhutan collaboration in the space sector.
It reflects the enduring India-Bhutan space partnership, the Embassy of India in Thimphu said on X.
India shares its space technology expertise with Bhutan as part of this partnership.
Four Bhutanese engineers were trained on satellite building and testing at ISRO, Bengaluru, from December 2020 to January 2021.
In February-March 2022, ISRO conducted month-long training for 21 officials from seven Bhutanese government departments.
The training pertained to receiving, processing, and analysing data from the INS-2TD satellite.
The INS-2TD was a technology demonstrator satellite from ISRO that served as a precursor to the India-Bhutan joint satellite (INS-2B).
It carried a thermal imaging camera as a payload and sought measurements of land and water surface temperature, delineation of vegetation (crops and forest), and thermal inertia (day/night).
After India and Bhutan inked a deal ("implementing arrangement") on the development of a joint small satellite on 24 September 2021, the INS-2B was launched using a polar satellite launch vehicle on the PSLV-C54 mission in November 2022.
The INS-2B was a collaborative satellite mission between India and Bhutan executed for the Buddhist country.
It successfully deployed two payloads — NanoMx, a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by the SAC, and the APRS-Digipeater, jointly developed by Bhutan's Department of Information Technology & Telecom and India's U R Rao Satellite Centre.
The INS-2B is providing Bhutan high-resolution images for their natural resources management.
This data is being received directly at the ground station in Thimphu, inaugurated at the GovTech premises only in March this year. ISRO Chairman S Somanath and NRSC Director Dr Prakash Chauhan were among those present at the ceremony.
Somanath was at the time leading an ISRO delegation's official visit to Bhutan. He held a bilateral meeting with Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, to discuss bilateral cooperation between India and Bhutan in the space sector.
Both sides discussed plans for future cooperation and projects in the space sector, covering such areas as capacity building of Bhutanese engineers at ISRO centres on satellite building and testing, processing and analysing satellite data, as well as joint development of satellites, and application of space technology across sectors in Bhutan.
After a subsequent India visit of the King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in April, a joint statement expressed an agreement between India and Bhutan to deepen their partnership in the space sector "by finalising a Joint Plan of Action expeditiously."
Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.
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