Bangladesh PM to ink $1.5b arms, nuclear deals in Russia

Published: January 14, 2013
Hasina flew out the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Monday at the head of a 54-member delegation to Moscow PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Hasina flew out the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Monday at the head of a 54-member delegation to Moscow PHOTO: AFP/FILE

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will sign defence and nuclear energy deals worth $1.5 billion during a three-day visit to Russia which begins on Monday, the government announced.

Hasina flew out the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Monday at the head of a 54-member delegation to Moscow where she is expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin at his Kremlin offices on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters a total of nine accords would be signed during the trip, including a $500 million credit agreement to help fund construction of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant.

Moni also said Bangladesh would use Russian government credit to enable it to buy a range of defence equipment.

“The amount of the defence purchase deals that are going to be signed is one billion dollars,” she told reporters in comments broadcast on Bangladeshi television.

The foreign minister did not give details of the equipment or of the terms of the repayment agreement.

But the mass-circulation Prothom Alo daily said fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers and radar equipment would all be included in the package.

ANM Muniruzzaman, an analyst at the Dhaka-based Institute of Peace and Security Studies, told AFP it was the biggest defence deal ever to be signed by Bangladesh which gained independence in 1971.

Bangladesh, one of the world’s most impoverished countries, has been expanding its defence capabilities in recent years, building a new air base close to neighbouring Myanmar and adding new frigates to its navy.

In November 2011 it signed a deal with Russian state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom to build a nuclear plant in the northwestern town of Rooppur which will have two 1,000 megawatt reactors at a cost of up to $2 billion each.

Officials said Bangladesh needs the reactors because its natural gas reserves could run out within a decade.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • True Indian
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:28PM

    Well done Bangladesh….All the best…..


  • DilliNiwasi
    Jan 14, 2013 - 5:02PM

    What thoughts must go on in Pakistan’s minds?


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 14, 2013 - 6:16PM

    Looks like Bangladesh has more pull than Pakistan.I suspect Bangladesh has benefited from it’s cordial relations with India.
    Something Pakistanis could do well to ponder over.


  • Jabid Kamal
    Jan 14, 2013 - 10:29PM

    Bangladesh suffers desperately from power outages. Our millennium development goal achievement heavily depends on adequate generation and supply of power at an affordable price. Challenge of this century and onwards will surely be in energy and food sector. Nuclear electricity is not without its risks. I hope we will be able to manage this.
    Military hardware, I hope have been carefully selected considering regional situation, country’s offshore economic interests and so forth!
    The country’s military posture probably needed a facelift. A small but effective deterrent military is probably good for regional stability and national economy.


  • Khan Bhai
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:04PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: Read they are getting nuclear plant from Russia, not India. India can’t even feed its own.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 15, 2013 - 11:07AM

    @Khan Bhai:

    Read they are getting nuclear plant
    from Russia, not India

    Point remains that Bangladesh can get a nuclear deal and Pakistan can’t, even though it’s running pillar to post pleading everyone and anyone.
    And anybody with some common sense can tell, Russia-Bangladesh deal has Indian backing.


  • K
    Jan 18, 2013 - 1:52AM

    @ Yuri

    Bangladesh do not have to have indian backing for such deal. Do you think if India oppose, Russia cares at all ? As for Bangladesh, USA objected this neuclear deal but Bangladesh ignored it, so India’s objection can be also ignored.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 18, 2013 - 10:08AM

    India did successfully block the sale of sophisticated Russian hardware to Pakistan, even post-communism. In-fact a few splinter USSR countries (Ukraine comes to mind) did apologize to India later (for dealing with Pakistan) in order to come out of India’s black-list.
    Besides, to think that Khaleda Zia would have got the deal is rather naive.


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