Delhi has set up a Data Reception and Tracking and Telemetry Station at Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. The Indian Space Research Organisation will activate it soon and link it up with another station at Biakin Indonesia, official sources said.
The latest space facility will essentially help ISRO track satellites launched from India and receive data from them. India also has a satellite tracking station in Brunei. It has spent about $23 million (Rs 152 crore) to set up the facility in Ho Chi Minh City.
It will be an important strategic asset for India in the SCS region, which has been at the centre of tensions between China and particularly Vietnam and the Philippines over the past few years. Some other Southeast Asian nations besides India, the US and Japan have expressed their concerns over China's aggressive tactic in East Sea through which is the gateway for a significant portion of global trade.
India since 2014 has consistently argued in favour of freedom of navigation and over-flight in the East Sea region amid China's territorial claims and creation of artificial islands. China's move has been protested by both Vietnam and the Philippines as its construction activities fall in their waters and exclusive economic cone.
Tensions are once again on the rise after China landed a plane on an artificial island it has built in a contested part of the East Sea, prompting Vietnam to accuse Beijing of "serious infringement" of its sovereignty. The East Sea is rich in natural resources. It is also a major shipping lane.