Breaking News
1. Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi Calls for Urgent Action Against Political Sloganeering in Rajya Sabha Gallery      2. RJD MP Manoj Jha Raises Concerns Over EVMs and Calls for Focus on Free and Fair Elections      3. BJP Leader CT Ravi Accuses Congress of Manipulating Cauvery Water Issue for Political Gains      4. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Announces 'Bhoomi Pujan' for India's First Semiconductor Plant, Aiming for Indigenous Microchips by December 2024      5. PM Modi Commends Supreme Court for Providing Judgments in Litigants' Language at International Lawyers' Conference 2023      6. Union Minister V Muraleedharan Accuses CPI(M) of Involvement in Karuvannur Bank Scam, Calls for Transparency      7. BJP Stages Protest in Bengaluru, Opposes Release of Cauvery River Water to Tamil Nadu      8. X's Head of Policy for India and South Asia Region, Samiran Gupta, Resigns From His Post.      9. Protesters Create Human Chain in Mandya, Demand Resolution to Cauvery Water-Sharing Dispute      10. Enhanced Security Measures Surround Rajahmundry Central Prison as N Chandrababu Naidu's Remand Extended      11. Janata Dal (Secular) Aligns with BJP in Pre-Election Alliance: HD Kumaraswamy Meets Key BJP Leaders      12. India Strongly Rebukes Pakistan's UN General Debate Remarks, Highlights Human Rights and Terrorism Concerns      13. India Achieves Historic No. 1 Ranking in ODI Cricket with Victory Over Australia      14. NIA Charges 13 Individuals in Villianur Bomb Blast Case Linked to Political Functionary's Assassination      15. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju Condemns China's Visa Denial to Arunachal Pradesh Wushu Athletes for Asian Games      16. MEA Spokesperson Condemns Discrimination Against Arunachal Pradesh Athletes at Asian Games in China      17. Prime Minister Modi Joins Celebrations at BJP Headquarters as Women's Reservation Bill Passes      18. World's Largest Cedar Tree Found in Jammu and Kashmir, May Become a Heritage Site      19. Supreme Court Rejects Plea for Barium Firecrackers, Upholds Delhi Government's Diwali Firecracker Ban      20. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren Mourns the Loss of Jharkhand High Court Justice Kailash Prasad Deo     

Risky Business: China's Arms Race with Bangladesh Escalates - BNS Sheikh Hasina is Just the Beginning!

  • Posted on April 7, 2023
  • News
  • By Top Stories

 The Awami League government, led by Sheikh Hasina, is approaching the end of its term in Dhaka but is also gearing up for upcoming elections. Recently, Prime Minister Hasina inaugurated the BNS Sheikh Hasina, a $1.2 billion submarine base built by China in Cox's Bazar as part of Bangladesh Army's 'Forces Goal 2030' defense plan outlined in 2009. This move has raised concerns in New Delhi, as the base is strategically located at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal, dangerously close to the Indian Navy's Andaman and Nicobar Command.


 Submarines navigating in the Bay of Bengal face challenges due to its narrow and shallow passage connecting to the Indian Ocean, demanding high maneuverability to safely submerge beneath the water's surface. The limited maneuverability of submarines in the Bay of Bengal makes them susceptible to attacks and potential loss during conflicts, which could hinder the Bangladesh Navy's ability to deploy attack-capable submarines at the berth. However, it's noteworthy that Bangladesh, which has procured submarines from China, may acquire more in the future, potentially allowing the Chinese navy (PLAN) to utilize the facility under the pretext of anti-piracy operations.


"China's Strategic Roadmap: Deepening Ties and Expanding Influence in Bangladesh"


China and Bangladesh signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in December 2002, which encompasses military training and defense production. As per Chinese government designations, Dhaka and Beijing are recognized as being in a "strategic partnership of cooperation". Furthermore, Bangladesh holds the distinction of being China's second-largest customer for defense procurement.


According to the most recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on arms sales during the period of 2016-2020, Bangladesh accounted for 17 percent of all Chinese defense exports, with Pakistan being the top customer, procuring 38 percent of Chinese defense exports. Notably, Beijing is ranked as the world's fifth largest exporter of arms and weapons, constituting 5.2 percent of global arms sales, as per the SIPRI factsheet.


The Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2002 has enabled Beijing to foster relationships with successive governments in Dhaka, positioning Bangladesh as a potential customer for Chinese arms. Over time, China has expanded the range of items in its arms export list for Bangladesh, steadily increasing its offerings.

Since 2002, Bangladesh has become a significant element in China's expansionist ambitions in South Asia. While Dhaka seeks economic, trade, and industrial technology to address its unemployment challenges, Beijing has managed to persuade Bangladesh to enhance its military capabilities to assert its influence in potential maritime conflicts, such as the one that occurred with Myanmar in 2016.

During that same year, China provided Bangladesh with two 056 corvettes, namely BNS Shadhinota and BNS Prottoy. These ships were equipped with naval guns of 76 mm and 30 mm, as well as anti-ship and surface-to-air missile systems.


Bangladesh successfully resolved its maritime disputes with Myanmar in 2012 and with India in 2014. As a result, it was able to expand its sovereign claim over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by approximately 100,000 square kilometers, an area nearly equivalent to its landmass. Although India was slow in proposing a technical support mechanism for exploratory purposes, Beijing promptly provided military and naval hardware to assist Dhaka in safeguarding its recently acquired maritime resources.


What India Needs to Do: Key Imperatives for Action"


Following India's provision of a $500 million credit line to Bangladesh in 2019, which became operational in 2022, Dhaka expressed interest in procuring military hardware items from New Delhi. This included all-terrain special-purpose vehicles, helicopters, and a maintenance contract for Russian-origin equipment such as Mi-17-1V helicopters, Antonov An-32 aircraft, and MiG-29 jets, which India also extensively utilizes.


As India aims to assist Dhaka in achieving its Forces Goal 2030 program during an election year, it is crucial to convey to Bangladesh's political establishment that engaging in an unnecessary arms race in the region would be futile. China's long-term strategy involves cultivating South Asian nations through arms deals and deceptive trade models, leading them into a debt trap and perpetuating an endless arms race.


Approximately 52 years after the conclusion of the 1971 Liberation War, a younger generation of Bangladeshis, who are now eligible to vote, is seeking employment opportunities, economic growth, and political stability. It is imperative for India's mission in Dhaka to engage with all segments of Bangladeshi society and its political entities to highlight the significance of addressing concerns that directly affect the everyday lives of the citizens.


The economic advancement of Bangladesh hinges upon effectively leveraging regional connectivity initiatives and integrating its economy and military strategy with India's Bharat Mala and Sagar Mala projects. It is imperative for New Delhi and Dhaka to actively collaborate on Look East Act East endeavors. Furthermore, India should consider extending its coastline projects on the East Coast to include Bangladesh and Myanmar within the framework of IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation).


For more updates keep visiting our website where we provide unbiased, true, and top stories of the world.




No Image
Top Stories

You May Also Like