NEW DELHI: Defence cooperation between India and Bangladesh has made significant gains in the last few years and will be expanded in the coming years including in the shipbuilding sector.
Raj Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Thursday said that the defense cooperation and partnership between India and Bangladesh has made significant gains in the last few years.
Addressing a virtual session ‘India and Bangladesh-Make for the World,’ organized by FICCI, jointly with the High Commission of India, Bangladesh, and Ministry of Defence, Kumar said that the close proximity of Indian shipyards to Bangladesh is an additional advantage for both the nations. “This may result in a long-term strategic partnership in production, development, and maintenance. It will be a win-win situation for both nations to achieve their common objectives. The strategic partnership between India-Bangladesh can become a pillar of regional strength and economic cooperation,” he noted.
Kumar said that India has a robust shipbuilding industry with an ecosystem of world-class public and private shipbuilding companies. “The ships constructed by Indian shipyards are of global standards and are extremely cost-effective. Our shipyards are also willing to partner with Bangladeshi shipyards for the construction of platforms as per Bangladesh requirements through JVs, co-development, and collaboration for both commercial and defense requirements,” he added.
Highlighting opportunities in the defense sector, Kumar stated that Bangladesh’s armed forces are looking for suppliers for its ambitious military modernization drive called Forces Goal 2030. The Indian defense industry has been galvanized through progressive policies and procedural reforms, which has catapulted the industry to serve not only the Indian but global requirements as well, he added.
“India has a vast defense industrial base of 41 Indian ordnance factories, 9 defense PSUs, along with a vibrant private sector and over 12,000 MSMEs. Indian defense industries can offer various proven hi-tech platforms, systems, sub-systems in air, land, sea, and space applications. India can offer MRO facilities to Bangladesh and with its proven expertise in software, India can offer technological solutions in the digital field as well,” Kumar added.
India, he said, has also extended a defense line of credit of $ 500 million to Bangladesh that is already operational. “We are keen to work with Bangladesh for platforms like Akash, radars, mortars, artillery guns, ammunition.”
Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary (DP), Ministry of Defence, said that the Indian defense sector has a lot of potentials and further invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in this sector. “We have opened up two defense industrial corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu and both corridors will leverage existing ordnance factories and private manufactures in the region. We invite investments from Bangladesh in these corridors and explore opportunities where we can co-produce and co-develop equipment for mutual use.”
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Minister of Shipping, Bangladesh said that Bangladesh is the third-largest economy in South Asia with a rich history in shipbuilding. “Today, shipbuilding is a growing industry in Bangladesh and has great potential. Since independence, Bangladesh has created a large fleet of 20,000 inland and coastal commercial vessels,” he said.
Vikram K Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India, said that there is a natural synergy between India and Bangladesh in working together to develop and leverage each other’s capacities as a matter of jointly harnessing capabilities for each other. “There is an ocean of untapped potential in the maritime domain from resources to science, from shipbuilding to infrastructure. The centrality of the Indo-Pacific idea and security along with growth for all the regions underpins the notion of ensuring that the maritime domain remains free, open & accessible to all for trade and commerce,” he added.