Jigmi Wangdi

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) inaugurated the joint satellite ground station yesterday.

The ground station will be instrumental in building Bhutan’s capabilities in leveraging space technology.

The inauguration comes after the launch of the India-Bhutan satellite last year.

Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi said: “Our rugged mountains, deep valleys, and dense forests make it difficult to access many parts of the country and pose a significant challenge for the delivery of essential services. It is my hope that Bhutan will be able to utilise remote sensing technology to overcome such challenges and accelerate our journey to become a developed nation.”

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that the inauguration of the ground station is a testament to the success of the joint satellite project.

“The ground station has equipped us with the means to receive images directly from the joint satellite and also in processing the images locally. This improves our ability to tap into the vulnerable resources, ultimately benefitting our citizens,” Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said.

The ISRO’s Shri S. Somanath, said that the ground station will benefit Bhutan significantly.“We have a long way to go. Remote sensing capabilities from space is something really important for a nation like Bhutan in many sectors such as disaster management, monitoring forest reserves and agricultural land management.”

GovTech’s Dy Executive Engineer, Cheki Dorji, said that the joint satellite leaves the ground station four times a day. The satellite will then connect with the antenna of the ground station through which the images can be collected.

The images collected so far have been shared with the government agencies concerned.

“We have asked them to see how useful the images are for their work. Very soon we will figure out the practical applications of the images, which will mostly depend on the functions of the relevant agencies,” said Cheki Dorji.

The inauguration event was attended by Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi, Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji, Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Sudhakar Dalela, government officials, and team members from the ISRO.