China may help Nepal to launch its first satellite

Nepal goes ahead with long-overdue plans of launching its first satellite before 2015.  It wants to launch through a joint venture.  The country may turn to China, which has in recent years helped a number of developing countries, including some of India’s neighbours, with financial and technological assistance for their satellite programmes.

The Nepal had recently formed a committee “to study the feasibility of launching its first satellite.” An orbital slot provided by the International Telecommunication Union to Nepal many years ago will expire in 2015, prompting Kathmandu to embark on the long-discussed project with new-found urgency.

Nepali government officials said they would look at launching the satellite through a “joint venture of national and international firms along with the Government of Nepal.”

Officials in Kathmandu told China’s official Xinhua news agency on Sunday that Nepal was open to the idea of leasing its first satellite “to either China or India or both” for commercial purposes.

China’s Great Wall Industry Corporation (GWIC), which has helped launch satellites for a number of developing countries, from Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Bolivia and Nigeria, is expected to make a pitch for cooperating with Nepal on the project, having voiced its interest in principle in the past to Nepali diplomats.

China’s dual offers of technological assistance and financial support through favourable loans from the China Development Bank have found favour with many developing countries.

China’s recent success in launching satellites, particularly for countries in India’s neighbourhood, has concerned New Delhi, with officials from different government ministries meeting last month to come up with a strategy to respond to China’s moves.

The Cabinet Committee on Security in March asked the Indian Space Research Organisation to become more active in responding to neighbours’ needs after reports from the Research & Analysis Wing highlighted how India’s lack of interest in the recent past had enabled China’s fast-expanding success in this field.

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Posted by on May 7, 2013. Filed under China,Nepal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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