Sunday, September 28, 2003
Galileo: A Commercial Rival to GPS

The satellite system, Galileo, that the European Union has been developing as a rival or replacement for US GPS has attracted interest from other powers with satellite capability. India, Israel and China are all negotiating access to the system as insurance since the United States still views GPS as both a commercial and a security concern. This also allows all three powers to develop their technologies in tandem with the EU.

Israel and India are stepping up diplomatic efforts to participate in Galileo, the European Union's rival to the Pentagon-controlled Global Positioning System, officials said yesterday.

The move could provide the EU's ambitious satellite navigation system with much-needed investment as well as making it a formidable competitor to the US, which so far has enjoyed a monopoly in this sector.

China last week clinched a deal with the EU to invest up to €230m ($263m, £160m) in Galileo in its bid to upgrade its communications systems but also to move closer to the EU on defence issues, even though the EU retains an arms embargo on the Beijing government since the 1989 Tiananmen Square killings.

Like China, Israel and India are turning to Galileo because the Pentagon's GPS system is closed to outsiders.

In certain areas, the United States is motivating the rise of balancing systems as other powers wish to ween themselves off technological dependence upon the sole superpower.

(27th September 2003, 23.59)


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