Dhaka, Washington agree to continue negotiation on defence deals

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 02:00, Dec 04, 2019 | Updated : 02:00, Dec 04, 2019

This August 2015 photo shows flags of Bangladesh and USA at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. PHOTO/Pacaf.af.milDhaka and Washington have agreed to continue negotiations for proposed two defence deals.
Both the sides agreed on the issue as Senior US Defence official Randall G Schriver has met with Security Adviser to Prime Minister Tarique Siddique and International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi Tuesday.
With a vision to engage more, Washington proposed the agreements on Acquisition and Cross-Service Agreement (ACSA) and General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).
Out of the two deals, without GSOMIA, it is not possible for the US to sell high-end defence equipment to any country.
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs has arrived in the city today on a two-day visit.
A foreign ministry official said, “Washington is willing to engage more and wants to enhance army-to-army, navy-to-navy and airforce-to-airforce relations.”
Bangladesh Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat has already left Dhaka for Washington and scheduled to talk about various cooperation.
Both the parties also want to have more training, maritime and terrorism cooperation, he said.
About the Rohingya crisis, Washington would continue its assistance and also willing to sensitise other countries including the Southeast Asian nations to resolve the problem, he added.
Issues related to defence cooperation and two deals were discussed at the Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue in June when Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque had a meeting with US State Department Under Secretary David Hale in Washington.
“The United States requested Bangladesh to continue the discussion on the protection of classified military information shared between the two countries. Bangladesh indicated its interest in continuing the discussion,” the joint statement of the dialogue said.
The foreign secretary also had a meeting with Pentagon officials including Randell in June this year.
According to US diplomats, Bangladesh is willing to buy a high-end US helicopter to upgrade its defence system.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has the vision to modernise defence forces and declared the Bangladesh Military Forces Goal 2030 in line with the development advancement of the country.
It is considered a top priority area and the country has allocated a significant amount of resources for that purpose.
The budget allocation for 2019-20 stipulated that “Procurement of arms, ammunition and modern warfare equipment’s, training in modern war strategies and extension of information technology is important to build a versatile and skilled army, navy and air force. Considering this, the area of modernization of armed forces has been selected as a top priority area.”