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`Bangladesh finalises deals with China for 2 submarines`

Bangladesh has finalised a deal to buy two submarines from China as part of its plans to develop a three-dimensional navy, according to a media report today.



Dhaka: Bangladesh has finalised a deal to buy two submarines from China as part of its plans to develop a three-dimensional navy, according to a media report today.

The two Ming-class submarines are expected to strengthen the navy`s ability to protect maritime resources and territorial waters, the New Age newspaper quoted unidentified officials as saying.

"The state-to-state deal would cost Bangladesh Taka 1,600 crore or USD 203.3 million to procure the two Ming-class submarines," the report said.

Officials from the navy or military`s media arm were not immediately available for comment but the report came four months after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the government`s plans to procure submarines.

In August, Hasina told a navy ceremony that, despite economic constraints, her government is committed to building a modern and balanced three-dimensional naval force for safeguarding interests in the high seas and littoral regions.

According to earlier reports, the Type 035G diesel-electric submarines were scheduled to be delivered in 2019. The navy decided to make payments to the Chinese state-owned firm that makes the submarines from the current fiscal to 2017-18.

The navy said 17 officials had been trained to operate submarines and it had acquired land on Kutubdia Island in southwestern Cox`s Bazaar to set up a submarine base.

"We need to have a robust maritime presence as a strategic nation," Maj Gen (retired) A N M Muniruzzaman, a defence analyst, told a news agency.

The Indian Ocean has become the "most strategic maritime theatre" with India, China and the US being the key actors, particularly after America`s maritime policy began focussing on the region, he said.

The submarine deal will be the second major defence agreement this year. Bangladesh earlier finalised a USD 1 billion deal with Russia to procure Mi-17 helicopters, combat trainer aircraft, armoured personnel carriers, anti-tank missiles and pontoon bridges.

Analysts have said this deal appeared to be a diplomatic shift as Russia was not a traditional source of weapons. The Bangladeshi military is more familiar with weapons from China and the US, they said.

From Zee News

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