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Bangladesh hesitates on Defence Pact with India

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit India this April. In preparation for the visit, Bangladesh and India have finalised dozens of draft documents -- deals and MoUs -- to be taken up for  consideration . Bangladesh however, is reluctant to sign an agreement on defence that India is pushing for.

Mar 1, 2017
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit India this April. In preparation for the visit, Bangladesh and India have finalised dozens of draft documents -- deals and MoUs -- to be taken up for  consideration . Bangladesh however, is reluctant to sign an agreement on defence that India is pushing for. India wants to have a 25-year agreement on defence cooperation with Bangladesh but Dhaka is skeptical about such a long time frame. It wants to sign a MoU, which would be less formal with no time frame.
 
The reason why India wants to push for this defence deal is because not only has China has emerged as a major supplier of arms to the Bangladesh Army but  is also a destination for its officers to receive training. The recent sale of submarines by China to Bangladesh has been a reason of concern for New Delhi. Strategists in India are questioning as to why Bangladesh needed submarines as it is surrounded by India on three sides and it has already settled its maritime disputes with— Myanmar and India through international arbitration in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
 
India is apprehensive that China is trying to encircle it by influencing its neighbours. China upgrading its relationship with Bangladesh during Xi Jinping’s visit in 2016, is seen as an evidence of the same. Bangladesh’s diplomats however, says that Indian military hardware is not good and the recent examples are Myanmar and Nepal. This is being touted as  the reason why Bangladesh does not want to get into a long term pact with India when Chinese  military equipment is cheap and easy to use.

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