Nepal is undergoing 13 days training programme of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) in Beijing after China ‘especially invited’ them to attend it. The programme that started on September 4 will end on September 20.
The move of China is seen as to end the US-based global positioning system (GPS) hegemony and push for its own developed navigation system first in the region. China uses its homegrown navigation system BeiDou for both military and civil purpose.
BDS, stated to be rivalling GPS of the US, is the fourth global satellite navigation system in the world. Other systems are Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo. India too is developing its own navigational system called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NAVIC.
BDS’s implementation will not only reduce the dependence of Chinese aircraft, vehicles and anti-missile systems on GPS and GLONASS, but it will enhance People’s Liberation Army (PLA) capabilities in conducting overseas operations. BeiDou started providing independent navigation services over China in 2000 and will serve many countries part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Currently, BeiDou covers nearly 30 countries including Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia.
China’s BRI is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping. It is aimed at furthering China’s influence abroad with infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investments all over the world. The initiative also led to allegations of smaller countries reeling under mounting Chinese debt after Sri Lanka gave its strategic Hambantota port in a debt swap to China in 2017 on a 99-year lease.