Indian defence minister arrives on Wednesday
jamuna news: Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will embark on a two-day visit to Bangladesh on Wednesday. During the he will call on the top leadership there and firm up defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's trip here next month.
Parrikar, who will be the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh, will call on President Abdul Hamid in Dhaka tomorrow and hold talks with the Security Adviser to Prime Minister, officials said.
On December 1, the Minister, who will be accompanied by the Vice Chiefs of the Army and Air Force, Deputy Chief of Navy besides Coast Guard chief, will visit the military academy in Chittagong and meet Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio.
Top Defence Ministry officials said the focus of the trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits here around December 17.
They said that Parrikar was originally scheduled to travel to Bangladesh much earlier this month but the visit was delayed. They also ruled out any link between the visit and the sale of two submarines by China to Bangladesh.
But Indian media reports said, the rush comes soon after Bangladesh took delivery of its first-ever submarines from China on November 14.
Sources in the Indian government said, a new defence cooperation framework, which will lead to stepped-up military supplies, technology transfer, training and joint exercises as well as closer cooperation in counter-terrorism, will be discussed during Parrikar's two-day visit to Bangladesh from November 30.
It is likely to be inked when Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina visits India in December. Incidentally, Parrikar will be the first Indian defence minister to visit Bangladesh in years,’ said a source.
On Monday, China handed over two refurbished Type 035 (Ming)-class diesel-electric submarines to Bangladesh Navy chief Admiral Mohammad Nizamuddin Ahmed at the Dalian seaport of Liaoning province in China, is a big indicator of the extensive military ties being forged between Dhaka and Beijing.
In mid-October, Xi Jinping also became the first Chinese president in 30 years to visit Bangladesh, which led to 27 deals worth $25 billion being inked. India, of course, can neither match China's economic muscle nor its domestic defence industrial base.
But India is trying to counter China's inroads into its neighbourhood, ranging from Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. Apart from supplying air defence guns, radars and mine-protected vehicles to Sri Lanka, for instance, India is also constructing two naval offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the island nation now.