THE CHINESE GLOBAL REACH
China said its fully operational home-made Beidou navigation satellite system is ready to provide global services, joining an elite group providing space-based systems comprising the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the EU’s Galileo.
Experts told China’s state media that the “completion of BeiDou-3 was due to the fact that core technologies cannot be bought or begged from other countries”.
SATELLITE NAVIGATION SYSTEMS
- GPS (USA) (33 satellites)
- GLONASS (Russia) (26 satellites)
- Galileo (EU)
- BeiDou (China) (35 satellites)
- QZSS (Japan)
- IRNSS NAVIC (India) (8 satellites)
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System covers India and a region extending 1,500 kilometer around it, with plans for further extension.
China’s BeiDou uses a network of satellites and can provide positional accuracies of under 10 metres (GPS provides positioning accuracies of under 2.2 metres). In 1994, China initiated BeiDou with aims to integrate its application in different sectors, including fishery, agriculture, special care, mass-market applications, forestry and public security.
MILITARY USE AND PROBLEMS FOR INDIA
Chinese Army has been using the BeiDou satellite system for its various divisions for several years for navigation of transport systems and improvement of targeting capabilities for weapons.
It is the military dimension of BeiDou that is likely to worry Indian strategic planners as Pakistan was the first south asian nation to use the system. Karachi covered BeiDou network In 2014. In 2018, US Newspaper New York Times reported “Pakistan is the only south asian nation that has been granted access to the system’s military service, allowing more precise guidance for missiles, ships and aircraft”.
IMPORTANCE FOR PAKISTAN
Pakistani officials have previously said the country cannot rely on GPS (Global Positioning System) during a conflict as the United States may restrict availability.
Satellite navigation is considered a ‘must-have’ for modern militaries for targeting of both nuclear-armed and conventionally armed missiles and bombs. With Pakistan buying a host of major military systems from China including fighter aircraft, submarines and surface warships and building its own cruise missiles, its reliance on the BeiDou is only expected to grow.
BeiDou Navigation Satellite System working BeiDou Navigation Satellite System working