Talks on to buy Chinese subsShakhawat Hossain
Bangladesh is negotiating with China to procure submarines, said senior military officials on Monday.
‘Substantial progress has been made’ towards concluding the purchase deal, Armed Forces Division principal staff officer lieutenant general Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq told New Age during a news briefing held at the Falcon Hall of Bangladesh Air Force at Tejgaon in the capital.
Abu Belal also told New Age that they would let the people know about the deal once it was finalised.
He, however, did not disclose the number of submarines the government wanted to buy for the Navy against the background of an enhanced geopolitical focus on the resource-rich Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh has longstanding territorial disputes over the bay with neighbouring Myanmar and India. Bangladesh settled its maritime row with Myanmar last
year and settlement of disputes with India now awaits the verdict of an international court.
Government officials hinted that there was a plan to purchase at least three submarines in the next few years.
Besides submarines, Dhaka is also negotiating with Beijing to buy two frigates under a state-to-state purchase deal to boost the country’s naval strength, they said.
Beijing offered two of its old 053H2 frigates at a very low rate on the condition that Dhaka would bear the refurbishment and defence equipment costs for the off-the-shelf ships.
An estimated Tk 6.55 billion will be needed to add two frigates to the country’s existing frigate fleet of six.
The Armed Forces Division has been equipped and modernised to safeguard the country’s ‘exclusive economic zone’ in the bay, said major general Abdul Matin.
He said arms purchase from China had increased over the last four years.
Bangladesh has procured tanks and 16 fighters from China during the present government.
The government also has inked a $1 billion deal with Russia to buy training fighters, choppers, and anti-tank missiles.
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