Navy to get 2 submarines
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government had moved to purchase two submarines and a coast guard cutter for Bangladesh Navy to modernise and strengthen the force.
â€œActivities are going on to purchase two submarines from a friendly country,â€ she told parliament while replying to a lawmaker's scripted query on her government's efforts to modernise the navy, army and air force.
Hasina, however, did not mention the name of the country friendly to Bangladesh and the timeframe for completing the purchase.
The coast guard cutter will be purchased from the USA, she said.
According to a report prepared by the navy in early 2009, the force has planned to introduce an aviation wing and a submarine to its fleet to obtain capability of a three-dimensional force.
The force has already taken steps to build infrastructure and train up its personnel, said the report sent to the armed forces division, a wing under the prime minister's office.
In her scripted answer, the premier said her government has already purchased missile, torpedo for destroying ship and submarine, depth charge, rocket launcher, canon, radar and other weapons for the navy.
Earlier on June 13 last year, Planning Minister AK Khandker, who is in charge of the defence ministry in the parliamentary affairs, told parliament that the government has moved to purchase two off-the-shelf [readymade] frigates, two large patrol crafts, two maritime patrol aircrafts and five patrol crafts for the navy.
In scripted answer to the query, the premier also described her government's various measures to modernise and strengthen the army and air force.
She said two new army commands and an infantry division, two air defence brigades, more than one armoured, artillery and engineering battalions and other necessary supportive units will be added to the army to strengthen the force as part of implementation of the forces goal-2030.
The forces goal will be implemented in four phases in light of the defence policy formulated by the then Bangabandhu-led government in 1974, Hasina told the House.
Besides, she said, the government has moved to purchase fourth generation MBT-2000 tanks, multi-launcher rocket system, weapon locating radar, automatic grenade launcher, anti-tank weapon, non-guided anti-tank weapon, anti-tank guided missiles etc for the army.
â€œThe activities will begin this financial year to buy multiple rocket launch system, weapon locating radar, ground surveillance radar and aircrafts carrying soldiers,â€ said Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio.
She also mentioned that a process was underway to purchase modern euro-copter, light fixed-wing aircraft and armoured and anti-air weapons for the army.
â€œAs part of expansion of the army and its modernisation, efforts are under way to establish an air defence regiment,â€ she added.
To modernise the air force under the forces goal-2030, she said her government has moved to buy air defence radar, fighter planes, air-to-air missiles, etc.
Hasina also informed the House about some other defence purchases already done for the armed forces.