Cabinet Approves MoU Between India and Bhutan on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on peaceful uses of outer space, a statement said. The MoU, which was signed between the two sides on November 19, 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.

“This MoU would lead to setting up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from DOS/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 said.

Cooperation with Bhutan through this MoU would lead to a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity, it added. India and Bhutan have been discussing establishing formal space cooperation.

A template for inter-governmental MoU for space cooperation was shared with the Ministry of External Affairs in November 2017 for taking it up further with Bhutan. This draft was discussed along with other cooperative proposals during the bilateral meeting in February.

After a few iterations through diplomatic channels, both sides arrived at a workable draft of the MoU and it was processed for internal approvals. After obtaining necessary approvals, the MoU was signed on November 19 by both sides and exchanged.