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Bangladesh to buy first submarines

Bangladesh is set to acquire its first submarines to boost its naval power in the Bay of Bengal, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Thursday, January 24, only days after she signed the country’s largest defence deal.

“We have made a decision to add submarines with base facilities to Bangladesh’s navy very soon to make it a deterrent force,” Hasina said, as she commissioned the country’s first domestically produced warship at a base in the southern city of Khulna. “We will build a modern three-dimensional navy for future generations which will be capable of facing any challenge during a war on our maritime boundary.”

The announcement is the latest sign of Hasina’s willingness to spend heavily on defence, coming only nine days after she signed a $1 billion defence deal in Russia for the purchase of jet fighters, trainers, helicopters and anti-tank missiles. Analysts have said the deal with Moscow represents the biggest military purchase agreement since impoverished Bangladesh won its independence in 1971. Hasina did not give details of how many submarines the country would be purchasing and from where, but a senior army general has said that Bangladesh is in negotiations with China on the subject.

Bangladesh, a third of whose 153 million population lives below the poverty line, has been expanding its defence capabilities in recent years, building a new air base close to neighbouring Myanmar and adding new frigates.

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