China’s collaboration with Pakistan is not restricted to procuring military equipment but is getting increasingly more strategic with sharing of space assets. China’s homegrown navigation system BeiDou will soon be used by Pakistan for both military and civil use.
The Chinese navigation system is aimed at replacing and ending the dependence on US-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
Chinese Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) has agreed to establish BeiDou-enabled Continuously Operating Radar Station (CORS) network in Pakistan for precise geo-spatial application, particularly in the field of surveying and mapping, construction and scientific studies, a report by the Indian security establishment on China-Pakistan defence cooperation states.
CSNO is also establishing a monitoring station at Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) for monitoring and assessing the BeiDou Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
An agreement on the cooperation in the field of satellite navigation between CSNO and SUPARCO was signed in May 2013.
On August 3, China announced the completion of its navigation system project. China is now looking at expanding the network to other countries in South Asia.
The launch of the system was done on June 23 after finally ending a project that went on for two decades.
China began to develop the system in 1990s and the first satellite was launched in 2000 kick-starting the journey.
With Pakistan heavily dependent on Chinese defence equipment, Pakistan Armed Forces would be shifting to and be fully integrated into BeiDou, reports suggest.
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 system for all its critical military platforms.
BeiDou can identify a user’s location to 10m (33ft), their velocity to within 0.2 metres per second, and clock synchronisation signals to within 50 nanoseconds.
Pakistan has been acquiring remote sensing satellites from China. Other than military assets, China-Pakistan defence cooperation has also been noticed in the information warfare domain. Pakistan has been getting assistance from China for cyber warfare as well.
Pakistan has been seeking Chinese cooperation in the field of cyber information assurance and cybersecurity domain. It wants Chinese assistance in monitoring of the Internet and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
China is also facilitating Pakistan in building its all-round capability in the domain of cyber warfare by the setting up of Information Security Lab under the National Electronics Complex of Pakistan.