In a bid to strengthen defense cooperation, Manohar Parrikar will be visiting Bangladesh on a two day visit from Wednesday. This will be the first visit by any Indian defense minister to Bangladesh. Parrikar’s visit is also important in a sense that Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina is also expected to visit India during next month.
Manohar Parrikar will meet the President Abdul Hamid and Security Advisor to Prime Minister during this visit. He will also visit the Chittagong military academy and meet PM Hasina. The Vice Chief of the Army and Air Force including the Deputy Chief of Navy and Coast Guard chief etc will be joining him.
Manohar Parrikar’s visit is focused on increasing the defense cooperation and strengthening the security system between two neighboring nations. PM Hasina is also expected to sign a defense cooperation agreement when she visits India next month.
This visit is also important considering China’s increasing role in Bangladesh’s security purchasing. In 2013, Bangladesh announced purchasing of two submarines from China. It was a part of the plan to modernize Bangladesh Navy. Officials have denied any link to this with Parrikar’s visit.
This visit is significant as it indicates India’s readiness in helping Bangladesh in defense needs. It will be the first visit by any defence minister in over 45 years. During PM Modi’s visit last year, both the countries signed about 22 key agreements ranging from human trafficking, smuggling of fake currency and setting up an Indian Economic Zone, to boost bilateral ties.
There are rumors circulating that India might offer offshore Patrolling Vessel to Bangladesh. There will also be discussions over the regular military exercise in the region. It is worth noting that recently held Sampriti 2016 was a successful; joint military exercise between both the nations.
Parrikar and his team will also submitting proposal of a new and improved defence co-operation mechanism to deepen the security ties between two nations. The framework may include will allowing India to step up military hardware supplies, transfer of technology and joint exercises and training facilities to Bangladesh military. India plans to counter Chinese footprints and influence in the Bengal region.