Addis Ababa: With Ethiopia launching a new space programme last month, India can have a promising partnership with Africa in this frontier technology, India`s outgoing ambassador here has said.
"An Indian rocket may carry an Ethiopian satellite into space; that is possible," outgoing envoy Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi said at his farewell reception here organized by the Indian Business Forum (IBF) in Ethiopia.
"India`s space launches are much cheaper (than in the West); hence launching micro satellites for Ethiopia is something that I think the two countries should work closely together for," he added.
After South Africa and Nigeria, Ethiopia is becoming a hub of Africa`s aspirations in space with the East African nation`s finalising the installation of two huge deep-space observatory telescopes to promote space research in the region, a prelude to its developing a space mission by launching its own satellites.
Indian technology has enabled the successful launching of satellites that now provide the country communication facilities and information on a range of subjects, including mineral deposits and weather trends.
"I will discuss this new partnership opportunity with my successor," Bisnoi said. On completing his four-year term, Bishnoi is moving to New York as deputy head of India`s permanent mission at the UN. He will be succeeded by Sanjay Verma, currently India`s consul general in Dubai.
He said Indian technological companies should invest in Ethiopia in the opportunities that are opening up. "The technologies that India brings are affordable, adoptable and suitable for household uses and others depending on the circumstances", the ambassador said.
"There is a lot of things that Indian industry has to offer."
During his tenure, the ambassador had encouraged Indian investment to Ethiopia and several Indian projects, especially in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, have been set up.
"As a patron of IBF, he (Bishnoi) constantly guided us to achieve our main objectives of IBF," Mayur IBF president Suryakant Kothari said.
According to Kothari, the other major contribution of the Indian ambassador was to create a platform for dialogue between Indian and Ethiopian government officials, which is also an objective of the IBF.
"Creating a dialogue between government officials is very important for investment and he enabled this platform where Indian investors frankly and candidly engage with Indian and Ethiopian government officials, and a lot of their challenges and problems were resolved," Kothari said.
One outcome of this dialogue is that India is the first country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) that has been successfully implemented by both sides.
The first visit of Indian leaders like Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Mnister Manmohan Singh, as well as of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to India when he was foreign minister happened during Bishnoi`s tenure.