Orbital slots from India to Sri Lanka, Maldives on cards

Saturday, 20 April 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

New Indian Express: Worried at the Chinese making inroads in space cooperation with their South Asian neighbours, India will be “proactively” giving orbital slots to its neighbouring countries, with talks already under way with Sri Lanka and Maldives.

This decision was taken after an inter-ministerial meeting last month, where it was learnt that India could offer several of its empty orbital slots for communication satellites to other countries. Advanced talks on offering orbital slots are going on between India and Sri Lanka and similar discussions are in a preliminary stage with Maldives.

As a lower riparian country, India’s concerns over water are likely to be raised during the forthcoming visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang next month. The possibility of new mechanisms, like a joint water commission, had been raised by India earlier at a technical level meeting on the construction of three new dams on the Chinese side of Brahmaputra. But, when it was discussed, the Chinese delegation had demurred, noting that the existing mechanism was “adequate”.

This matter was elevated to a higher level when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. But, there had been no response from Beijing.

It is presumed that water issues between the two countries will figure prominently when Premier Li arrives in New Delhi next month – his first visit to a foreign country after taking over office in March.