Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 31
In what brings out a new threat to India and shows a growing Chinese presence in the neighbourhood, a Chinese state-owned company, Powertech Technology Inc, has been contracted to construct a permanent submarine base in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar.
Cox’s Bazar, in Bay of Bengal, is on the eastern coast of Bangladesh and in south-eastern part of the country that abuts Myanmar. In 2017, Bangladesh took delivery of a pair of Chinese Ming-class Type 035B diesel electric submarines, joining a prestigious club of Asian maritime powers.
Indian security agencies have informed the government of the project, which was anyway expected to come up since Bangladesh got the Chinese submarines. The submarines were procured under a contract from China at a reported cost of $193 million. The submarines have been through extensive refitting and modernisation.
The Chinese company has been appointed for the job through a government-to-government negotiation between Bangladesh and China. It is still not clear if China will base something of its own permanently, but it will have visiting rights, sources in India said. The construction of a base for submarines is expected to include facilities like barracks for troops and an ammunition depot, besides repairing facilities for submarines.
China has in the past supplied naval warships to Bangladesh. An agreement was signed with China’s Ship Building and Offshore International Company Limited in September 2015 to build the two corvettes for Bangladesh Navy. The second ship was delivered last month. Among the facilities are modern artillery guns, missile system, sophisticated 3D radars and other combat equipment.
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