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India, China, Russia, other BRICS nations agree to set up satellite constellation

India has clinched a deal with China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa to set up a constellation of remote sensing satellites launched and operated by the space agencies of the five nations to share data among themselves for management of disasters and natural resources

K Sivan, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and the heads of the space agencies of the four other nations signed the Agreement on the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

The agreement was signed just weeks ahead of the virtual summit of the BRICS, a bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“The agreement will help accelerate cooperation between the BRICS countries in the peaceful use of outer space with use of data and applications across an array of sectors such as research on global climate change, agriculture and food security, disaster management and water resource management, amongst others,” said Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and India’s Sherpa for the BRICS summit, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi would host next month.

The agreement will enable setting up a network of remote sensing satellites and the ground stations launched and operated by the space agencies of the five nations.

The participating satellites include China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite-4 (CBERS-4) system, Kanopus-V Earth observation satellites of Russia, ResourceSat-2 Remote Sensing satellite of India. China’s GaoFen-1 (GF-1) series of earth observation satellites will also participate in the network. The participating ground stations will include Cuiaba in Brazil, Shadnagar-Hyderabad in India, Sany in China, Hartebeesthoek in South Africa and Moscow in Russia.

The BRICS summit next month will be the first multilateral conclave to be hosted by Modi and attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping after the relations between New Delhi and Beijing hit a new low over the military stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

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