The chief of army staff of India, General Manoj Pande completed his Bangladesh visit recently (from July 18 to July 20) as part of the “outstanding” bilateral defence relations between Bangladesh and India.

General Manoj Pande was on his first trip abroad since taking over the post. On the first day of his visit, the army chief laid a wreath at Shikha Anirban to honour the valiant souls who made the ultimate sacrifices during the Liberation War of 1971.

Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande received a Guard of Honour at a convention centre of Bangladesh Armed Forces in Dhaka on Monday.

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande paid a courtesy visit to his Bangladesh counterpart General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed at the Army Headquarters in Dhaka on Monday. They discussed ways to enhance and strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Manoj Pande met senior members of the security establishment several times throughout the day to discuss defence-related topics. In Dhanmondi, he paid tribute to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He met Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday and focused on strengthening bilateral ties.

The army chief spoke to the professors and students of Defence Services Command and Staff College, Mirpur on the second day of his visit.

After that, he met the staff at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support and Operation Training, a prestigious institution in Bangladesh that prepares peacekeepers for work in a variety of UN peace operations and engages in conversation with them. The Indian Army chief also visited the Bangabandhu Military Museum in Mirpur.

Manoj Pande’s visit has strengthened relations between the two armies on a bilateral level and served as a catalyst for improved coordination and collaboration between the two nations on a variety of strategic problems.

In South Asia, Bangladesh is an important ally of India. The two nations closely work together on problems like climate change, counterterrorism, and regional security. This visit may serve to cement bilateral defence ties. Defence cooperation between nations could strengthen bilateral ties. Both India and Bangladesh are essential to the region. Despite some bilateral issues, both countries are greatly interested in further solidifying their bilateral ties, which was made clear by this visit. This could assist in bolstering bilateral ties and reflecting better bilateral understanding. This visit is highly important for Bangladesh and India in the region. Bangladesh and India must work together as reliable partners to address some shared issues. Through this visit, India and Bangladesh have further reinforced their defence ties.

India played a significant role in the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971, helping erstwhile East Pakistan transform into the new country of Bangladesh, which permanently altered the dynamics of South Asia. India and Bangladesh agreed to a “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” that would last for 25 years. Given the numerous cultural, diplomatic, economic, and security linkages that exist between India and Bangladesh today, the two nations’ bilateral ties are now stronger than ever. Bangladesh occupies a special place in India’s heart as a close neighbour and an essential part of the country’s “Neighbourhood First Policy.”

Defence, security, and strategic connections between India and Bangladesh are expanding daily. Bangladesh is seen by India as an enduring strategic ally. In addition to giving 18 brand-new 120 mm mortars to the Bangladesh Army in December 2020 as part of army-to-army cooperation, India has granted a $500 million line of credit to Bangladesh for defence procurement from India.

A 122-member group from Bangladesh’s tri-services also took part in the Republic Day parade in India in January 2021.

From March 8–10, two Indian naval ships—INS Kulish and INS Sumedha—visited Bangladesh’s Mongla Port, making it the first naval visit India had made in the last 50 years. Bangladesh is still India’s “closest neighbour,” and relations with it are at a “golden age.” India wants to strengthen its relationship with Bangladesh just as the US wants to engage with it more strategically. Of sure, both nations would benefit from the situation.

In an effort to improve bilateral defence cooperation, Bangladesh’s new army chief Gen S M Shafiuddin Ahmed and India’s new army chief General Manoj Pande spoke via video chat earlier this month.

It is believed that the two army commanders also discussed how the geopolitical landscape was changing and how that would affect regional security. In recent years, India and Bangladesh’s defence and security relations have improved. The 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Liberation was in 2021. Both India and Bangladesh have highly trained, experienced military, and they work together to keep the Eastern region peaceful. Due to the close ties between the two countries, India is also hosting a number of events to commemorate the liberation of Bangladesh 50 years ago.

The Bangladeshi and Indian militaries are increasingly collaborating on defence. Through a variety of initiatives, such as joint training and drills and defence discussions, the two countries’ armed forces have been working together more and more.

Two defence agreements were signed between Bangladesh and India during Sheikh Hasina’s four-day trip to New Delhi in April 2017. These were the first such pacts inked by India and any of its neighbours. According to the accords, the troops of the two nations would engage in cooperative training and exercises.

In order to achieve self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing in Bangladesh, India will assist Bangladesh in setting up manufacturing and service facilities for the defence platforms that both nations currently possess. Additionally, India will offer the Bangladesh military specialized training as well as technical and logistical support. India also gave a neighbouring nation, Bangladesh, it’s first ever line of credit for defence-related purchases, in the amount of $500 million.

Additionally, the forces of the two nations have taken on a significant role in conducting training programs for dealing with counterterrorism challenges, natural catastrophes, and ensuring humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).

To strengthen the defence and security facets of their alliance, Bangladesh and India can cooperate in the field of defence. The two nations should be dedicated to further developing the defence and security component of their partnership based on the needs expressed and each party’s ability to respond to them using different methods, including through capacity building and potential technology transfer. India can assist Bangladesh in achieving the goal of implementing Bangladesh’s visionary military plan “Forces Goal 2030.”