GPS System Rival Adopted By Pakistan
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of satellites basically hovering in space. These satellites, which were developed and are currently monitored by the Department of Defense, send low level radio signals to Earth. Through the combination of satellites orbiting the Earth, GPS receivers on the ground and signals being transmitted, a wealth of data is produced. Data such as speed, position, altitude, time and more. This network of satellites is the backbone behind the navigation and GPS tracking device technology used by millions of people every single day. Countries all across the globe have called upon the American technological marvel of GPS to assist in routing, tracking and navigating, but that might all change in the very near future now that the Chinese have developed their own satellite system called Beidou (compass). In fact, five countries have already committed to using the Chinese navigation system with Pakistan being the most recent. Described as a similar but slightly more modern form of the U.S. satellite monitoring system, Beidou is anticipated to offer worldwide coverage by the year 2020. The Beidou satellite network already has 16 satellites in operation with another 30 satellites expected to make their debut to the network very soon. Along with Pakistan, the countries of Thailand, Brunei, Laos and of course China have already committed to the Beidou satellite network. China appears to be very pleased with the decision by Pakistan to use Beidou, as companies are already looking to construct networking stations inside Pakistan to better increase accuracy of the satellite system. This is significant considering such development of infrastructure will cost millions of dollars. Insiders close to the Pakistani government are on record stating that Pakistan has made the decision to move forward with the Beidou system because it has serious trust issues with the United States. Some point to the Osama Bin Laden raid as an example of the lack of transparency between the countries, when the U.S. sent special forces into Pakistan to apprehend the most wanted man on the planet without first obtaining permission from the Pakistani government. However, the rhetoric from Pakistani military officials saying they can’t rely on the GPS system of the United States if possible conflict occurs appears odd since Pakistan took nearly $21 billion dollars in United Stated federal aid from 2002-2010. Should the U.S. be concerned that more countries intend on transitioning from GPS to Beidou?