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17 August 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

The article explains the benefits of India’s indigenous regional navigation system “NAVIC”.

  • NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), India’s indigenous global navigation satellite system, is expected to become fully operational from this month.
  • Consisting of a constellation of three geostationary, four geosynchronous and two on-standby satellites, NAVIC will facilitate accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the region around it extending to 1,500km.
  • While India is joining a club of global powers—the US, EU, China and Russia—who control their own navigation satellite systems, NAVIC’s reach is regional. This is an auspicious occasion for South Asian cooperation.

Benefits of navigation system:

  • The benefits of NAVIC to Indian citizens and dedicating the acronym to Indian fishermen and navigators, its full operationalization carries profound implications and opportunities for the South Asian region at large.
  • At a time when neighbours like Sri Lanka and Nepal harbour misgivings over Indian interference in their internal affairs and question the Indian commitment to a balanced regional order, sharing the benefits of NAVIC could countenance India’s credentials as a collaborative partner in the region.
  • “Net security providers” are states that deploy their surplus national assets for the safety and stability of other countries, including by way of responding to natural and man-made disasters.
  • Having a global navigation system bolsters the ability of a nation to serve as a net security provider, especially through the guarantee of such assurance policies.
  • Through land-area mapping, yield monitoring and precision-planting of crops, NAVIC allows for the development of civic capabilities in food and livelihood security.
  • In the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, NAVIC also arrives as an instrument for environmental and meteorological monitoring, as well as climate research.
  • These capabilities can be leveraged to design reliable and efficient response mechanisms for natural disasters, alleviating the devastation they wreak through well-managed disaster relief.
  • Charting out growth routes for South Asian economies, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) governments can also welcome the launch of NAVIC as an opening shot to accelerated innovation.
  • Several present-day civilian and commercial pursuits, from vehicle tracking to mobile phone integration, owe their very existence to satellite navigation technologies.
  • It will also reduce the dependence on import of technologies from West.
  • At the same time, NAVIC’s interoperability with GPS can ensure the minimization of technical snags when used complementarily with existing GPS-enabled solutions.
  • NAVIC exemplifies a hybrid technology, providing both civilian and military benefits—it serves Indian security interests in the sense that many of India’s weapon systems, such as guided missiles and bombs, as well as fleet management, rely on satellite navigation.
  • Seeking to move away from the US-owned GPS system, India initially sought collaboration with the EU, entering into an agreement in 2005 to participate in its Galileo Satellite Project.
  • But various security concerns, including China’s substantial involvement in the project, resulted in negotiations falling apart, and India deciding to chart an indigenous development course.
  • Now, India should work to shift the regional frame of mind from defence thinking to subcontinental cooperation, pushing back against isolationist impulses that stand in the way of realizing the civilian and commercial promise of NAVIC.

Question:

An ability to integrate space infrastructure into the Indian state apparatus has fortunate ripple effects beyond Indian borders. In dedicating itself to exploring and actualizing the civilian and commercial potential of NAVIC, India can signal to its regional partners that its rise is not only passively peaceful but also directly beneficial to those it can lift up in its tide. Discuss.

Suggested Approach:

  • Civilian and military benefits of NAVIC.
  • How NAVIC can play part in “Neighbourhood First” policy.
  • Need of NAVIC.

Link:http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/nvUxIhQveytvMNQKADl3wM/NAVIC-Indias-eye-in-the-sky.html

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