Bangladesh is taking steps to bolster their maritime naval security by ordering its first ever set of submarines.
Having signed the largest defense spending deal in the country’s history, Prime minister Sheikh Hasina recently said that the country is looking to increase their naval presence in the Bay of Bengal as well.
“We have made a decision to add submarines with base facilities to Bangladesh’s navy very soon to make it a deterrent force,” she said.
“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.”
These defense deal signed was a $1 billion dollar agreement with Russia to purchase training fighters, helicopters and anti-tank weaponry. This splurge is easily the largest in the country’s short history; Bangladesh won its independence in 1971.
Although Hasina herself would not elaborate on how many submarines Bangladesh would be purchasing, a senior army official has confirmed that the country is in talks with China to supply them.
Bangladesh has recently built several new frigates, as well as a new air base next to neighbor and regional rival Myanmar. The two countries have had frequent territorial disputes recently, the last of which had to be settled by a United Nations tribunal.
The disputes have included maritime borders– in 2008, Myanmar sent ships to explore gas drilling in areas that Bangladesh claimed were under their sovereignty. Bangladesh has also gotten into recent conflicts with India, who is also aggressively exploring natural resources in the Bay of Bengal.
Hasina remarked that the increased defense spending is partially as a result of the favorable United Nations ruling, which clarified the country’s right to approximately 43,000 square miles of ocean. Bangladesh is looking to enforce these newly established maritime borders.
Her country has a developing interest in the area of ocean; it has recently opened up bidding for oil and gas drilling rights to international oil companies.
Recent maritime border disputes in the region have spurred defense spending of many countries. China is the leader in both aggression and increased military spending. This has created somewhat of a chain reaction, as those aspiring to rival and resist China have increased their own spending. This has caused the next tier of countries, Bangladesh included, to up their own devotion to defense, as the entire region gets involved in a mini-arms race.