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India and Bangladesh Join Hands For Defence Partnership And Co-Production In The Region

India-Bangladesh defence cooperation will boost India's 'neighborhood first' policy for the co-development in the region. Bangladesh is the third largest economy in South Asia and has a large fleet of 20,000 commercial vessels. Collaboration with Indian defence PSUs and OFs will create much needed regional defence industrial ecosystem.

Photo Credit : Reuters

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India's regional security cooperation gets through the next level with the major announcement of joint military production. Ministry of Defence said that India will jointly build up defence equipment with Bangladesh. The county is a littoral of the Bay of Bengal, the region integral to the Indian Ocean and a major maritime trading route. In 2020, Bangladesh’s per capita income has surpassed India. 

The turnaround of Bangladesh economy is the making of great story based on its strength of human capital with an impressive human developmental record.

Defence cooperation and partnership between India and Bangladesh has made significant gains in the last few years. India will jointly build up defence equipment with Bangladesh as Defence Secretary Production, Raj Kumar announced co- development program with Bangladesh.The strategic partnership between India-Bangladesh can become a pillar of regional strength and economic cooperation.

Marking the strength of bilateral relations and strategic partnership, Bangladesh has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Dhaka on March 26 next year to jointly celebrate the country’s Independence Day with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

India and Bangladesh are seeking greater cooperation in the blue economy, civil nuclear energy, aerospace research in defence & security. 

Addressing a virtual session ‘India and Bangladesh-Make for the World,’ jointly with the High Commission of India, Bangladesh and Ministry of Defence, Govt of India,  Kumar added that the close proximity of Indian shipyards to Bangladesh is an additional advantage for both the nations. “This may result in a long-term strategic partnership in production, development and maintenance. It will be a win-win situation for both the nations to achieve their common objectives. The strategic partnership between India-Bangladesh can become a pillar of regional strength and economic cooperation,” he noted.

India has a robust ship building industry with an ecosystem of world class public and private ship building companies. “The ships constructed by Indian shipyards are of global standards and are extremely cost effective. Our shipyards are also willing to partner with Bangladeshi shipyards for construction of platforms as per Bangladesh requirements through JVs, co-development and collaboration for both commercial and defence requirements,” he added.

Bangladesh armed forces is looking for suppliers for its ambitious military modernization drive called Forces Goal 2030. Indian defence industry is opening to such regional partnership. The Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 has made substantial provision and procedural reforms for the industry which seeks to serve not only the Indian but global requirements as well.

“India has a vast defence industrial base of 41 Indian ordnance factories, 9 defence PSUs, along with a vibrant private sector and over 12,000 MSMEs. Indian defence industries can offer various proven hi-tech platforms, systems, sub-systems in air, land, sea, and space applications. India can offer MRO facilities to Bangladesh and with its proven expertise in software, India can offer technological solutions in the digital field as well,”  Kumar added.

India has extended a defence line of credit of US$ 500 million to Bangladesh that is already operational. India has offered Bangladesh military platforms like Akash, radars, mortars, artillery guns, ammunitions etc.

India invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in existng two defence industrial corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu. Both corridors will leverage existing ordnance factories and private manufactures in the region.India proposed Bangladesh to explore opportunities, co-produce and co-develop equipment for mutual use.

Bangladesh is the third largest economy in South Asia with rich history in ship building. Ship building is a growing industry in Bangladesh and  Since independence, Bangladesh has created a large fleet of 20,000 inland and coastal commercial vessels. Potential lies in the co development  in the area of shipbuilding with Indian defence PSUs.  

India is also looking forward to build cohesive understanding of its India- Pacific Strategy with Bangladesh which underpins the free, open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region as per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Bangladesh is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Highlighting the importance of regional defence cooperation, Vikram K Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India, Dhaka pointed out the centrality of Indo-Pacific. He added: “There is an ocean of untapped potential in the maritime domain from resources to science, from shipbuilding to infrastructure. The centrality of the Indo-Pacific idea and security along with growth for all the regions underpins the notion of ensuring that the maritime domain remains free, open & accessible to all for trade and commerce."