Sri Lanka’s first communication satellite is expected to be launched on November 22, 2012 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China.

The satellite is partly owned by a private company, Sri Lanka’s first Satellite Company called SupremeSAT. The cost of the project is expected to be around US$ 360 million. According to the Chairman of the company, the project is a joint venture with two Chinese companies, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Sino Satellite Communications Company Ltd. The project also includes the construction of a satellite Content Management Station and a Space Academy at Kandy.

CGWIC is China’s State-owned company and is assisting SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd with regard to design, manufacturing and launching of the satellite.

China’s engagement with Sri Lanka in the area of space technology is along expected lines. It is obvious that the deal is actually a result of their strong bilateral relationship.  At the same time it is also important to note that space technologies have acquired a special status in China’s geopolitical stratagem. China is not only using this expertise to cement existing bilateral associations but also as a tool for fresh engagements. China has been found using its expertise in space technologies as a tool of diplomacy both for economic and strategic gains, Institute for Defence studies and analyses reports.

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