On the 10th of August (Wednesday), the Republic of India and Bangladesh held their second tri service talks in New Delhi regarding enhancing of defence cooperation between the two countries. According to MoD (Ministry of Defence), the meeting between Brigadier Vivek Narang of the IDS (Integrated Defence Staff) and Brigadier Husain Mohammed Rehman was cordial and friendly. The Tri Service Talks (TSST) is a forum to boost defence cooperations between both nations through regular talks at the strategic and operational level.
Bangladesh is India’s immediate neighbour and a strong element of the “Indian Neighbourhood Policy”. It is also a noteworthy ally of India. The Bangladesh government in 2017, led by Sheikh Hasina signed two defence agreements. The military forces of both nations shall undertake joint exercises and training. In addition, the Indian Armed Forces will provide expert training, and logistical support. Counter-Terrorism is a common area for cooperation between the two. This is essential for curbing/containing insurgents and drug baron’s nexus prevalent in India’s northeast region. The North East is in close proximity and shares borders with Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government has promised to ensure that “no one can use Bangladesh soil for terror operations to any neighbouring country) Both Nations share zero tolerance to terrorism, extremism radicalisation and organised crime.
India and Bangladesh have signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for enhancing cooperation in Strategic studies. The two entities are DSSC (India) and Dhaka Defence Service Command. Other MOU’s include between the coast guard forces of the two countries.
Defence Cooperation will also include HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations) along with intelligence sharing. India and Bangladesh also participate in UN Peacekeeping Missions. In 2021, the previous year, A contingent of Bangladesh military (Army, Navy and Airforce) also participated in India’s Republic Parade on 26th of January. India has offered a Line of Credit ($500 million) to purchase defence equipment.
India has invited Bangladeshi Companies to invest in its Defence Industrial Corridors (one in UP) and the other in (Tamil Nadu). There are chances of co-development in the Shipbuilding Industry. Bangladesh and India have a historical record of shipbuilding. India provides military assistance to Bangladesh in form of mortars, missiles, ammunition and radars. Dhaka also shares India’s Stand for a free, peaceful and inclusive Indo Pacific Region.
However, there are some irritants in in bilateral ties. The threat comes from China. Bangladesh is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). There are six corridors in BRI. The Bangladesh-China- Myanmar Corridor is one of them. The Chittagong Port (one of the busiest ports in the world) is extensively used by China and the Indian assets positioned there are quite vulnerable. China too supplies submarines, fighter jets, and anti- ship missiles. Coupled with training Bangladesh military.
Around 74% of Bangladesh arms imports comes from China. It is also building a naval base where Chinese submarines can be housed and deployed as an when required. In 2002, Bangladesh and China have signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement that consists of defence production as well.