Army Opts for Chinese GPS receivers over desi ones

GNSS is a system of satellites which broadcast signals from space with both positioning and timing information.

Published: 05th June 2022 10:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th June 2022 10:44 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: By inaugurating a two-day drone festival in Delhi on May 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his stamp of approval to the indigenous NavIC or satellite navigation system that makes Indian-made drones perform their assigned functions. With the government focusing on the indigenous development of drones, it is expected that import dependence on such equipment would sharply reduce. 

However, a few months ago, the Indian Army had purchased three GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) GPS receivers from a Chinese multinational technology company, among one of the largest in the world, instead of relying on home-grown companies. 

GNSS is a system of satellites that broadcast signals from space with both positioning and timing information. These signals are picked up by receivers which such information to determine their geographic location in terms of longitude, latitude and height. Multi-frequency GNSS receivers are used across many industries for accurate and reliable positioning right to the centimeter level. A simple GPS receiver only makes use of a single GNSS while multi-constellation GNSS receivers get information from many such systems at the same time. 

According to Defence Ministry sources, the GNSS equipment was purchased from Baidu, specialising in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence. While the receivers, purchased for about `50 lakh, is to be used by the Pune-based College of Military Engineering (under the Department of Military Affairs) on survey stations, it is learnt that Baidu was given preference despite the bidding conditions stating that “preference shall be given to Class 1 local supplier” and “only Class-I and Class-II local suppliers…will be eligible to bid. Non-local suppliers…are not eligible to participate”. Sources said the Army’s preference for the Baidu receivers was objected to by a few Indian manufacturers, but these were brushed aside by the MoD and the Department of Military Affairs.


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