India has also extended a defence line of credit of $ 500 million to Bangladesh that is already operational

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 ship building sector.

Raj Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Thursday said that the defence 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 the 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 ship building industry with an ecosystem of world class public and private ship building 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 construction of platforms as per Bangladesh requirements through JVs, co-development and collaboration for both commercial and defence requirements,” he added.

Highlighting opportunities in the defence sector, Kumar stated that Bangladesh armed forces is looking for suppliers for its ambitious military modernization drive called Forces Goal 2030. Indian defence 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 defence industrial base of 41 Indian ordnance factories, 9 defence PSUs, along with a vibrant private sector and over 12,000 MSMEs. Indian defence 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 defence 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, ammunitions.”

Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary (DP), Ministry of Defence, said that the Indian defence sector has a lot of potential and further invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in this sector. “We have opened up two defence 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 rich history in ship building. “Today, ship building 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.