Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Begins His Bangladesh Visit To Counter Chinese Influence In IOR
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (File-Internet photo)
New Delhi 30 November 2016
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar begins his two days Bangladesh Visit today. The visit is first ever by any Indian Defence Minister in last 45 years since the creation of Bangladesh. The visit hold strategic significance as China of late entrapping Bangladesh by giving military aid. Watch China Entraps Bangladesh. A source in Defence Ministry informed National Defence that “The visit is part of revitalising defence relationship program with neighbours”.
However, both the nations already have military to military cooperation. Both countries have military exercises too. As part of the defence cooperation, a joint military training exercise SAMPRITI 2016 was conducted at Tangail, Dhaka, Bangladesh from 05 and concluded on 18 November 2016.
Relations between both countries warm up ever after Sheik Hasina became Prime Minister. It further strengthened especially when land boundary dispute was resolved.
People’s Republic of China (PRC) has recently given two submarines to China, which caused discomfort in India. Indian Navy is the Net Security Provider in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Giving two submarines to Bangladesh by China means the PLA Navy would man these submarines for long and would lend them opportunity to troll Indian waters and snoop upon. The type 35 ming class diesel-electric submarines are equipped with Yu-3 torpedo, and French sonar DUUX-5 and its Chinese-built version. These diesel-electric submarines displace 2110 tons and have a surfaced endurance of 8000 nm allowing them to stay at sea for about 60 days. They are manned by a crew of 57 personnel and carry 18 torpedoes with an option for carrying 32 mines also.
The Chinese submarines given to Bangladesh are not new but used and old””, said a source in MoD, India. “India is trying to get in a position where we can supply hardware on naval side” added the source.
Bangladesh is looking for growth in their own capacity. Defence Minister Parrikar will explore as how can they work with Indian defence PSUs. Joint Ventures in some key areas are also on the corner.
Both countries will explore to increase Military to Military exchanges. There would be more military exercise in future. Maritime control between the two nation is expanding; HADR operations also happen frequently.
Besides Navies, both coast guards have better interaction. Maritime domain awareness is already going on. Exchange of white shipping information on movement of commercial and non-military merchant vessels is likely to increase.
Defence Minister Parrikar today will meet Bangladesh President, Abdul Hamid, and National Security advisor, who is a cabinet rank minister. He is scheduled to have the key discussion, tomorrow on second day of his visit, with PM Sheikh Hasina who also holds Defence Portfolio.
Strategic community is keeping an eye on the coveted visit and unfolding outcomes as this is first ever visit of any Raksha Mantri to Bangadesh in last 45 years.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.