Millennium Post

MEA empowers China arm with satellite airtime

However, it is not clear yet what they (the MEA) means when they say EAA. Sources said a meeting was held in the first week of February where top MEA officials were present including deputy secretary Vijai Kumar. A decision was taken to buy airtime for seven satellite phones.

After a series of meetings, the proposal was finally got approved by the union external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and on 27 February the ministry approached some Indian companies with their requirements. However, the matter related to how many minutes of airtime they are going to buy is kept under wraps. ‘A few MEA officials of East Asia Division were briefed about the reason behind buying airtime. It was a request from the East Asia Division to buy,’ a MEA source said.

It was learnt that the East Asia Division of the MEA is meant to look after activities in China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. ‘They are planning to buy either of the prepaid or post paid services for the satellite phones depending on costs. Initially, there was a plan to involve some foreign companies as well, but later that was dropped citing security reasons and it was decided to keep few Indian companies to execute the proposal,’ he said.

Many experts feel such move is nothing but to keep an update on the neighboring countries as a part of the nation’s security. ‘Such phones are required when some one from India wants to get in touch with the ‘people’ located in East Asia during crises,’ sources said. It seems that the ministry is in a hurry to execute the proposal in the first week of June. The MEA letters signed by its deputy secretary Vijai Kumar, reads: ‘Activation of service must be executed definitely with effect from 1 June, 2014.’

The INMARSAT ISAT Pro Satellite phones cover a major portion of the world but not the polar areas. It was the first to provide voice and data communications with mobile communication devices.
Sujit Nath

Sujit Nath

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