Bangladesh Army prepares for Saudi Arabia deployment

Bangladesh Army prepares for Saudi Arabia deployment

The Bangladesh Army is preparing to send 1,700 troops from its engineer corps to Saudi Arabia under a bilateral deal to support the Royal Saudi Armed Forces.

Bangladesh was requested by Saudi Arabia to send its Army to the kingdom to conduct demining operations and develop military infrastructure.

The tremendously positive activities of the Bangladesh Army in Kuwait caught the attention of the Saudi government.

The Bangladesh Military Contingent (BMC) was first deployed to Kuwait nearly 30 years ago under Operation Kuwait Punarghathan (OKP) to rebuild Kuwait and clear landmines planted by Iraqi forces during the Gulf War in 1991.

At least 72 members of the Bangladesh Army were killed and 52 injured during the course of their deployment, which is still ongoing.

Currently as many as 6,000 members of the Bangladesh Army, Navu, Air Force, Coast Guard, Fire Service & Civil Defence as well as civilians are deployed under the Bangladesh Military Contingent (BMC) in Kuwait. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel are also to be sent to Kuwait to work under the BMC.

Moreover Bangladeshi forces also work in the Kuwait National Guard, besides the Kuwaiti Army.

Currently the Bangladesh Army is putting together the required manpower, weapons and equipment for the mission in Saudi Arabia. Team has learned the Bangladesh Army is purchasing equipment such as specialised demining vehicles, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) light armoured vehicles, workshop trucks, tank transporters, heavy duty truck wreckers, vehicle mounted ground penetration radar, various infantry weapons, vehicle mounted network jammer/ECM, mine crossing mattresses, EOD PPE, radiation detection equipment, tactical UAS, various handheld demining tools and mine detection dogs for the mission.

The comprehensive equipment will allow the Bangladesh Army to perform their duties in Saudi Arabia effectively. The two engineer battalions in Saudi Arabia will be much better equipped than the BMC mission in Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia for its part is said to be providing an annual fee to the Bangladesh Army for its services. This will cover the cost of the extensive troop deployment, equipment, maintenance and also ensure Saudi investment in to modernising the Bangladesh Army with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Bangladesh government indicated it will not deploy any troops to Yemen however the troops will be deployed in Najran and Jizan. These regions lie adjacent to Yemen, which has seen the deployment of large number of Saudi troops in its civil war involving Iranian-backed Shia rebels.

Bangladesh is already a member of Saudi Arabia-led 41-state Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) to combat terrorism, which was formed in 2015. Besides engineer corps personnel Bangladesh Army offered Army Medical Corps (AMC) doctors to be seconded to Saudi Arabia’s armed forces.

Photo: Sayem.

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