Russia, Bangladesh seal USD 1 billion arms deal



Moscow: Bangladesh Tuesday inked its biggest arms contract worth USD 1 billion with Russia, which also announced a USD 500 million loan to Dhaka for the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant.

The two major deals were announced after Russian President Vladmir Putin today met with visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for talks.

"Russia will issue a loan to Bangladesh worth one billion US dollars that will be used to buy Russian weapons and military hardware," Putin told journalists after the talks.

"Cooperation in defence was another area for collaboration between Dhaka and Moscow," Hasina was quoted by the Bangladeshi BSS news agency as saying at the joint press briefing after the talks.

"Our countries intend to broaden military-technical cooperation," Putin said, without specifying what weapons or military equipment Bangladesh would buy from Russia, the world's second-largest weapons exporter.

However, media reports in Bangladesh, said fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers and radar equipment would be included in the package of the procurement deal.

In addition to the arms contract, Russia will also grant a loan worth USD 500 million to Bangladesh for the construction of a nuclear power plant in northwestern Ruppur.

"We will not only provide the most up-to-date technology. ...But also provide financial support for the construction of the nuclear power plant at the initial stage," Putin said.

The head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said technical and environmental assessments would be carried out this year for the plant, which is to have two 1,000-megawatt reactors and will be completed in the early 2020s.

Energy-starved Bangladesh signed an initial deal with Russian state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom in November, 2011, to build a nuclear plant with two 1,000 megawatt reactors at a cost of upto USD 2 billion each against the backdrop of its dwindling reserve of natural gas.

The two sides inked 11 agreements, Itar-Tass reported.

PTI