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Volume:7, Number:38
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Bangladesh-India Defense Cooperation Framework Finalized

| Sharifunnaher |

Bangladesh and India are to sign a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalize defense cooperation between the two countries. The draft MoU includes cooperation in the defense industry and joint initiatives for its development, defense technology, research, and maritime infrastructure development. Officials said on March 22 that the draft framework of the defense cooperation MoU between Bangladesh and India has been finalized after about three months of talks between the two countries. If all goes according to plan, the deal will be signed during prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in April, they added. According to the draft schedule, Sheikh Hasina is to arrive in New Delhi on April 7 on a four-day state visit to India. After her talks with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, on April 8, several agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed, including the defense memorandum. Once the MoU is finalized and signed, Bangladesh will purchase defense equipment worth about BDT40 billion from India. Officials of various ministries concerned have said that so far 49 agreements and MoUs have been discussed for signing during the prime minister’ s forthcoming visit. India had proposed a long-term agreement framework to consolidate defense cooperation between the two countries. Last Decemb er, India’s defense minister at the time, Manohar Parrikar, came to Bangladesh and discussed the issue with prime minister Sheikh Hasina. After discussions at several levels, Bangladesh finally agreed t o a MoU for defense cooperation rather than a long-term agreement. Bangladesh and India finalized the draft MoU in the first half of February t his year. In order to enhance the efficiency of officers in the defense sec - tor, the two sides will exchange training, military experts, trainers and observers, military curricula, and information. The two sides will organize cooperation in military equipment maintenance, and training pertaining to disaster and relief cooperation. Annual meetings will be held between the defense secretaries and principal staff officer s of the armed forces of the two countries to review the defense cooperation. These meetings will be held alternately in the two countries.

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