Chinese companies have discussed Maldives’ satellite slot: former communications minister

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim met with two Chinese companies interested in launching and operating a satellite designated for the Maldives during a recent visit to China, former Minister of Communication Dr Ahmed Shamheed has claimed.

Shamheed told Minivan News today that the Maldives government was potentially entitled to an “orbital slot” for a satellite from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). However, because the Maldives’ currently lacks the capabilities to launch and operate a satellite, the state would have to lease out the slot to an external party.

Earlier this month (December 12) the Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM) announced that it was looking to find a partner in order to form a venture for the operation of a satellite serving the Maldives.

The announcement was made at the same time that Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim was on an official five-day visit to China, where he signed a military aid agreement with Chinese National Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie.

According to Shamheed, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim has already been approached by various Chinese companies who have expressed interest in the satellite venture.

“At first, I had been involved in casual meetings with these companies, but now it seems to getting more serious. Nazim had even questioned as to why we have not yet signed an agreement with them,” Shamheed alleged.

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Orbital slot

The former transport and communications minister said that in his view, the best option would be to lease the “orbital slot” only after the Maldives was officially awarded the space by the ITU.

“Operating a satellite is not an easy thing to do, and [the Maldives] does not have the facilities to do such a thing. The best plan would be to get the slot and then to sell it to whomever we wanted. I don’t understand why we have to agree to anything right now,” Shamheed said.

However, he warned selling the slot to a Chinese company before the ITU had awarded the space to the Maldives could result in “external” influences swaying the decision.

“If we sell the slot right now to a Chinese company there could be problems. We don’t know who influences the ITU or who could be involved behind the scenes, if we sell the slot now it might mean that our orbital slot is revoked,” added Shamheed.

Deputy Transport Minister Ishaq Ahmed told local newspaper Haveeru on Friday (December 21) that two Chinese companies have expressed interest in launching and operating a satellite designated for the Maldives.

However, he added that the government did not wish to sell the slots specifically to Chinese companies , adding there had been no official transactions made so far.

An expert committee will evaluate proposals and select a party, he explained.

“We have not decided to give it to a particular country. I’ve learned that it is a Chinese company does this for [Sri] Lanka now. Therefore it is likely that another Chinese company could be interested in the Maldives. All countries would have an opportunity in this. They should come with the best proposal,” he was quoted as saying.

Ishaq denied the Transport Ministry was planning to sell the slot to a Chinese enterprise.

He explained that obtaining the slot would be up to the chosen party and that the ITU informed the ministry that the process could take two years.

The request for proposal (RFP) was announced with a view to commencing the project soon, he added.

CAM previously announced that the satellite project will be carried out in three phases whereby an orbital slot is to be secured, before manufacturing and launching the satellite itself. The final stage will involve the commercial operation of the satellite.

Local media reported that the CAM had stated the importance of a satellite was increasing “by the day”, following a surge in broadcasters within the country.

The authority stated that spending money on foreign satellite service providers is a financial burden and that its excessive capacity can be utilised commercially to generate money for the country.

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11 thoughts on “Chinese companies have discussed Maldives’ satellite slot: former communications minister”

  1. @mohamed Naseem on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 6:26 PM

    "probable why china is working hard to fix a chines satellite in Maldives"

    A Chinese satellite in Maldives? Must be a world record. Communication satellites orbit hundreds of kilometres above the earth and most are geostationary. So the concept of a satellite "in Maldives" is meaningless!

    As far as I can see, China gets no particular advantage in operating a satellite for the Maldives other than receiving income from the operation.

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  2. You know how India and Pakistan keep their people distracted from real issues like potable water, 24hrs electricity, bad roads, poor quality schools and corruption etc. - They test launch a nuclear missile or shoot up a satellite. You have joined that league now. How does Maldives intend to pay for launch and operation of satellite if it is unable to manage the fiscal deficit in the budget?

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  3. I hope you don't expect the Indians to pay for this satellite............we all know you are bankrupt.
    What other hairbrained schemes has your defence minister got in the pipeline I wonder?...........a nuclear bomb project like your sunni brothers in Pakistan?..........a ballistic missile project maybe?..........or even a aircraft carrier with long range nuclear capable bombers?
    You guys have really got your priorities screwed up..........is anybody in charge there?

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  4. @MissIndia NewDelhi on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 11:47 PM

    "You guys have really got your priorities screwed up……….is anybody in charge there?'

    Oh yes, haven't you seen the colours on his chest, standing alongside the Chinese Defence Minister, Liang Guanglie?

    The Western world knows our man as the chap who got kicked out of the Sandhurst Military Academy of the United Kingdom. You can figure out the rest of the credentials from there.

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  5. @Virendra on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 7:43 PM

    "They test launch a nuclear missile or shoot up a satellite. You have joined that league now."

    As you know, most Maldivian politicians can hardly add a column of numbers. One group of them hailed the GMR contract as a super success story worthy of billions of dollars to the Maldivan tax collector.

    The next lot of loonies declared that it was a total loss to the tax man, and so declared the contract null and void, as we all know. Who is right?

    The current regime may think that launching and maintaining a satellite is a sure way to save money. I wouldn't trust them to calculate the monthly salaries of the civil service. Actually, I don't think the regime even knows how many civil servants it employs. And they are thinking of launching satellites? Fly a kite!

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  6. so china is charging its war horse to dominate south asia. picking up a fight with great nation like india would only weaken China. In not for the contribution by India in fighting world war 2, china would be a colony of Japan today.

    Hate china, its destroying innovations, research and the world economy. Pretty soon their billion plus people will demand more money to suit their western lifestyle. Then what would they do another bloody Tiananmen style massacre.

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  7. By cozying up to new bed-mate china, maldives is copy-cat like that of N Korea and threatningly begging alms from India.LOL yuk yuk!

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  8. Maldives does not require to pay money or provide the fund for this project and it is saying that this self fin aces project by the investors.

    Maldives only will get a royalty fee from this project for the contracted period and there after Maldives get the full income .

    Misindia, We do not care how much you hate Maldives and we know you are among us and you will never be able to bring back your cult leader nasheed ever back to power in Maldives.

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  9. @indianew dhelhi

    Doesnt your country have enough problems of their own?

    We ve all heard of your countrys recent news on sexual violence against women OUT ON THE STREETS! and on PUBLIC TRANSPORT

    and a large percent of the ENTIRE female population has been molested in some way.
    Shut up and deal with your own problems you crap

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