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Feb-19-2014 12:05printcomments

Chinese Sale of Submarines to Bangladesh

China is also helping Bangladesh rebuild the Ordinance Factory in Gazipur which produces small arms and ammunition.

Bangladesh submarine
Burma Times photo

(KUALA LAMPUR) - Bangladesh has finalized a deal to purchase two Ming-class submarines from China. Deal, which is waiting for final approval from the Finance Ministry, for the two submarines was worth $203.3 million.

It would be paid by Bangladesh during the fiscal year 2017-2018.

The type 035G diesel-electric run submarines are scheduled to be delivered in 2019. Seventeen Bangladeshi sailors are being trained to operate the submarines; The Navy has acquired land in Kutubdia Island in Cox’s Bazaar to set up a submarine base.

The deal should be seen within the matrix of Chinese efforts to encircle India and increase their presence in the waters surrounding Indian peninsular. It has already made its presence felt in the Indian Ocean through building naval bases there as a result of military alliances with Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The geographical location of denies China access to the Bay of Bengal. But this has not stopped Beijing from trying to extend its naval power projection beyond its national ports. Bangladesh is simply another element of China’s strategy to dramatically enhance its global naval posture. China has ‘pivoted’ to the waters around Indian subcontinent and the Bangladesh submarine story is part of this larger strategic game.

Bangladesh’s decision to purchase the submarines from China is unsurprising as Dhaka has long relied heavily on Beijing for military equipment. In 2012, it was the second largest market for Chinese arms exports behind Pakistan amounting to $350m.

It needs to be mentioned here that China has established itself as a credible competitor in the global weapons market and exported weapons worth more than $2bn to different countries. China is also helping Bangladesh rebuild the Ordinance Factory in Gazipur which produces small arms and ammunition.

The Bangladesh-China Defence Co-operation Agreement was inked in 2002, expanding strategic and military cooperation. Since then, China has supplied 65 artillery guns, 114 missile systems, 155 mm howitzers, and large cache of small arms and ammunitions.

The Bangladesh army is in the process of procuring 2,000 Main Battle Tanks from China at the cost of 162 million dollars, which is a significant purchase for a country the size of Bangladesh with a GDP per capita of 700 dollars. The Bangladeshi navy (Nou Bahini) is collaborating extensively with the Chinese Navy (PLAN) in acquiring missile boats, torpedo boats, gunboats, and submarine hunters. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has argued that a strong navy is needed as a “deterrent force” and she aims to usher in a process of developing a three-dimensional naval force by the next decade.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


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