Delhi targets big defence pact with Dhaka

Prothom Alo English | Update:

India_BangladeshIndia and Bangladesh are in discussion to ink a comprehensive defence pact during the visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasnia to India in April, reports The Hindustan Times (HT).

The newspaper, however, said New Delhi is unable to sign the much-awaited Teesta water-sharing pact - an agreement that Dhaka has been desperately expecting from the Indian establishment.

India is eying a comprehensive defence pact that encompasses training, sale of military hardware and military to military cooperation, according to the HT.

It added that India is willing commit up to $500 million in line of credit for military cooperation with Dhaka.

“For India what lends urgency to wrap up a comprehensive pact is Dhaka’s growing proximity with China on defence matters,” wrote the Indian newspaper.

In November last year, Bangladesh purchased two submarines from China, much to the discomfiture of India, according to the HT. “And China remains Bangladesh’s biggest supplier of military hardware.”

During the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to Dhaka last year two countries signed pacts amounting to $ 25 billion in investments in Bangladesh.

But, HT added, for Bangladesh prime minister Hasina, going for another major pact is not an easy proposition. “The pro-India leader fights criticism is that she is giving too much to India and getting too little in return. Over the years, Hasina walked the extra mile in addressing India’s concerns over insurgency and connectivity,” the report pointed out.

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