After Nepal, another crucial Indian ally Bangladesh seems to have tilted towards China. According to local media reports, Bangladesh has decided to buy advances military weapons from NORINCO and other Chinese state-owned companies in a bid to achieve Forces Goal 2030, a move to modernise the country's armed forces.
The latest purchase includes tanks, missiles and other military weapons and is part of Bangladesh's ambitious Forces Goal 2030, a modernisation program of the country's Armed Forces which began in 2009.
As part of the Forces Goal 2030, Bangladesh aims to equip its military with modern gear like Night Vision Goggles (NVG), Ballistic helmets, Eye protective gear, Bulletproof vest, person to person communicators, palmtop GPS device and BD-08 assault rifles with a Collimator sight.
Since 2009, Bangladesh has purchased 650 BTR-80 APCs, 50 Otokar Cobra I LAVs, 50 Otokar Cobra II MRAPs and several BOV M11 armoured reconnaissance vehicles. Most of these were bought from China, which happens to be Dhaka's largest weapons supplier.
Act of provocation toward India
The latest move from Bangladesh, a country that got its freedom from Pakistan with the help of the Indian Army, has come amid tensions between India and China. Analysts see the latest purchase of military weapons from China as an act of provocation toward India.
India has favoured and helped Bangladesh on multiple occasions and the experts believe Dhaka's move to increase its closeness with china may result in losing goodwill with New Delhi.
Bangladesh stands to lose more
As Bangladesh's saviour and all-weather ally, India has been financing many of Dhaka's development projects in power, railways, road and transport, health and technical education in addition to investments in textiles, banking and telecommunications.
In 2017-18, bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh was USD 9.5 billion with India's exports pegged at USD 8.6 billion and imports at just USD 0.87 billion. This means India provides most goods and services to Bangladesh.
Experts believe if Dhaka chooses China over India, it may severely dent the country's overall development and will be considered economic suicide by the country. Given the trade deficit, Bangladesh stands to lose much more if the country chooses China over India.