Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will visit Bangladesh on Wednesday to deepen security ties with the neighbouring country led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is expected to visit India next month.
Parrikar will be the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh. He will call on the top leadership in the country to strengthen defence cooperation initiatives during the two-day visit.
He is expected to call on President Abdul Hamid in Dhaka on the first day and hold talks with the Security Advisor to Prime Minister, officials said.
On December 1, the Vice Chief of the Army and Air Force besides the Deputy Chief of Navy and Coast Guard chief will join the Defence Minister at the military academy in Chittagong and meet Hasina.
According to top Defence Ministry officials, the focus of the trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Bangladesh Prime Minister visits here around December 17.
Parrikar was originally scheduled to travel to the country much earlier this month but the visit was delayed, however, the officials denied any link between the visit and the sale of two submarines by China to Bangladesh.
Hasina announced the plan to purchase two submarines in 2013 as part of her government's move to build a modern navy.
When Bangladesh Navy chief Muhammad Farid Habib had visited India in November last year, he had said Bangladesh is going to buy two used submarines from China for "training" its surface crew and Sonar crew in anti-submarine warfare.
"Since the delimitation of maritime border problem has been solved, we are now trying to cooperate. We are trying to patrol in our areas. So in our sea, we also expect lot of gas and oil," Habib had said then.
He also said Bangladesh wants to work with the Indian Navy as there are many "non-traditional threats" in sea, a reference to piracy, floating armouries among others.
"We cannot tackle those threats alone. It requires cooperation so that we can together fight non-traditional threats and make the area peaceful," the visiting Navy chief had said.
Areas of naval cooperation that are proposed include option of coordinated patrolling along International Maritime Boundary Line(IMBL), bilateral exercises between both navies, joint surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zone and cooperation in hydrography.
(With PTI inputs)