India and China have been competing for influence in the South Asian Region including Bangladesh. What New Delhi terms as its backyard, Beijing looks at in another opportunity to expand its presence and potentially encircle India.
Experts talking to EurAsian Times states that the latest deal between Bangladesh-India to permit surveillance along the Bangladeshi coastline may have broken the ambitions of China while New Delhi affirmed its position as the dominant partner of Bangladesh.
India will install a network of 20 Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) the two countries signed during Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Delhi, early this month.
It was officially announced that the radar systems would improve surveillance on Bangladesh’s maritime domain and ultimately pave the way for a white shipping agreement, the sharing of advance information regarding identity and movement of non-military commercial vessels between the two countries.
However, this will be useful for containing the growing presence of China in the Bay of Bengal region, Indian media reports suggest.
India has already set up radar stations in other South Asian Nations including Mauritius, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and is planning one in Myanmar, implementing a project at a cost of around $80 million to strengthen its maritime security system in the Indian Ocean since 2015.
“India is, understandably, not giving them [radar systems] to Bangladesh; its target is to monitor the movement of China in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, according to experts.
Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister met for bilateral talks and inaugurated three projects to strengthen ties in diverse areas including defence and security, trade and connectivity.
The two countries (India and Bangladesh) signed 7 pacts in core areas such as transport, connectivity, capacity building and culture. Three projects involving the import of LPG from Bangladesh were also launched during the meeting.