The Indian government has expressed keenness on engaging Bangladesh in exporting and coproducing heavy defence equipment, including missiles, radars and artillery guns, according to an online discussion held on Thursday.
‘We are keen to work with Bangladesh for platforms like Akash [missiles], radars, mortars, artillery guns, ammunitions, etc,’ Indian defence ministry’s secretary on defence production Raj Kumar said at the discussion.
The defence equipment produced by India is compatible with the need for modernising the Bangladesh defence forces under the Forces Goal 2030, he said.
Mentioning the memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries during a visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi in 2017 for a US$500 credit line for defence procurements, Raj Kumar said that the defence line of credit ‘is already operational.’
Defence cooperation and partnership between India and Bangladesh has made significant gains in the last few years, he said, adding that there were potentials for the two countries to engage in long-term strategic partnership in the areas of shipbuilding for both commercial and defence requirements.
The discussion was jointly organised by the High Commission of India in Bangladesh, Indian defence ministry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Bangladesh shipping minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said that shipbuilding was a growing industry in the country, with a vast fleet of about 20,000 inland and coastal commercial vessels produced here in over four decades.
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami stressed the need for Bangladesh and India to work together to develop and leverage one another’s capacities in the areas ranging from science, shipbuilding to infrastructure.
‘The centrality of the Indo-Pacific idea and security along with growth for all the region underpins the notion of ensuring that the maritime domain remains free, open and accessible to all for trade and commerce,’ he said.
Several officials from Bangladesh and Indian sides joined in the discussion.