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With eye on China, India and Bhutan cement space pact

With eye on China, India and Bhutan cement space pact

With eye on China, India and Bhutan on Wednesday cemented a space pact, which will allow the Himalayan nation to access data generated by remote sensing and communication satellites.

An India-Bhutan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was given cabinet approval will enable the two countries to also work together on satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft, space and ground systems and application of space technology.

It would also lead to the setting up of a Joint Working Group, of Bhutan, which will further work out a detailed action plan.

The latest move is part of an exercise to consolidate ties between India and Bhutan, and to structurally link Bhutan with the broader Indo-Pacific region. India and Japan have been collaborating to link Bhutan with Southeast Asia along a land corridor to counter attempts by China to bear down its influence on Thimpu.

The longest bridge over the Brahmaputra, which has been cleared for construction will become the lynchpin of a giant trans-Asian corridor that will connect landlocked Bhutan and Northeast India, with Dan Nang in Vietnam.

With Bhutan at the back-end, the 19-kilometre Dhubri-Phulbari bridge connects Dhubri in Assam with Phulbari in Meghalaya.

The flagship project, acquired sharp focus, after a 2018 agreement between India and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for the infrastructure development of the north-east.

The gigantic effort will merge two parallel initiatives — the New Delhi-led India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the East-West, Economic Corridor (EWEC) marshalled by Japan in partnership with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The joint foray is a fusion of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ strategy..