NEW DELHI: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar is leaving for a two- day visit to Dhaka on Wednesday to bolster defence cooperation between the two neighbouring nation and also to counter China’s growing footprint in the neighbouring nation. Parrikar’s visit will be the first ever visit to Bangladesh by any Indian defence minister in the last 45 years. China has delivered a diesel submarine to Bangladesh, the first ever submarine to Bangladesh navy.
Following Parrikar’s visit, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also scheduled to visit to New Delhi to join India’s celebration of 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to creation of Bangladesh. Official sources claim that Bangladesh prime minister, during his visit, will also present award to heroes of Indian armed forces for the deciding 1971 war.
During his visit, Parrikar will be accompanied with vice chiefs of Army, IAF and Navy alongwith Director General of Coast Guard. Parrikar visit is also seen to counter Chinese growing strategic footprints in Bangladesh. Besides meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister and President, Parrikar will also be visiting Chittagong military academy. Sheikh Hasina also holds Defence portfolio in Bangladesh cabinet. India can also offer building Offshore Patrol Vessel to Bangladesh apart from having regular military exercises between the nation, are some of the key points to be discussed during the visit.
Official sources said that apart from seeking closer cooperation in counter-terrorism, Parrikar led delegation will focus on the new defence cooperation framework that will lead to stepped up military hardware supply, technology transfer and joint exercise and proving training to Bangladesh military.
Bangladesh Navy on early this month received two Type 035G-class submarines from China for $203 million. The move only goes to further underline the growing bonhomie between Bangladesh and China. Type 035G-class submarines area, also known as Ming-class, is a class of diesel-electric submarines of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. The primary weaponry for Type 035G is Yu-3 torpedo, and French sonar DUUX-5 and its Chinese-built version were used on later units, 12 of which were completed between 1990 and 1999.
It is notable that Bangladesh has always been a close ally of India especially in its fight against terrorism. Bangladesh has been a victim of terrorism like earlier this year Dhaka blamed Pakistan for the deadly terror attack in its capital. In fact, Bangladesh was one of the first nations to pull out of the SAARC Summit in Pakistan after India announced its decision to not attend. Post the Uri terror attack on Indian Army, Bangladesh had slammed Pakistan, openly supporting India.