China’s PLA shrouds military movement by restricting use of homegrown navigation system

Amid a ramp-up of India’s surveillance to get a clearer picture of Chinese activities and movements close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), China has restricted the use of its navigation system, known as BeiDou, informed intelligence reports.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, China’s homegrown navigation system, is aimed at replacing and ending the dependence on the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS).

There has been a sudden decrease in activation of BeiDou terminals all along the Northern Borders in the last month. Platforms with the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System are only using it for confirmations that they have reached their desired locations.

This is being seen as a deliberate attempt of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to hide its important activities across Northern Borders, officials said.

The BeiDou system was launched on June 23, 2020, finally ending a project that went on for two decades. China had started developing the system in the 1990s. The first satellite was launched in 2000 that kick-started the journey of its homegrown navigation system.

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India ramps up surveillance grid

The restricted use of the Chinese navigation system happens to coincide with the Indian Army’s enhancement of its surveillance grid with induction of long-distance surveillance drones, radars and night vision capabilities. The augmented surveillance platforms give the Indian Army an accurate picture of Chinese activities across the LAC.

Feed from drones, satellite imagery, radars and ground cameras are being assessed and collated in an integrated manner for a robust and accurate assessment of ground situation on the Chinese side.

Speaking to journalists recently, Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Manoj Pande said, “We are enhancing surveillance close to the LAC. In certain areas, our deployment was thin we have strengthened. The last one and half year has been a matter of concern for us. Eastern command enhanced its preparedness levels and capability to respond to any contingency.”

He said new technology and inductions have happened with the focus on surveillance. “The army has Inducted long-distance surveillance drones, new radars and platforms for night vision capabilities.”

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Last year Chinese Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) agreed to establish BeiDou-enabled Continuously Operating Radar Station (CORS) network in Pakistan for precise geospatial application, particularly in the field of surveying and mapping construction and scientific studies.

With Pakistan heavily dependent on Chinese defence equipment, Pakistan Armed Forces would shift to be fully integrated into BeiDou, reports suggested.

Be it armour, air defence, artillery, UAVs, ships, submarines or fighter aircraft, China has been maintaining a steady supply to Pakistan. Experts believe in time to come, Pakistan will completely switch to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System for all its critical military platforms.

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