The Bangladesh Navy is quietly constructing one of the most advanced submarine bases in the region with the technical cooperation of China.
BNS Sheikh Hasina, located in Pekua, Cox’s Bazar is being constructed at a cost of BDT 10,300 crore ($1.21 billion) to facilitate the Bangladesh Navy’s undersea warfare operations.
Chinese state owned enterprise Poly Technologies Inc (PTI) were awarded the contract by the Bangladesh Navy.
The facilities at the site includes wharfs, barracks, munitions depots, repair dock and various training centres.
China’s ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Li Jiming is playing a pivotal role in helping develop the capabilities of the Bangladesh Navy through his extensive connections within the PLAN.
Currently the two Type 035G submarines of the Bangladesh Navy are being operated out of a temporary submarine jetty since 2017.
Dhaka is also constructing a super-sized naval base in Patuakhali that will have submarine berthing and operations facilities.
Chinese companies have been awarded key contracts for expanding the Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet airports, they are working on the Padma multipurpose bridge, Payra coal power plant and Karnaphuli river tunnel projects simultaneously.
Bangladesh fully backs Chinese President Xi Jingping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that is likely to bring dividends for Bangladesh’s growing economy.
Earlier in June the Bangladesh Navy commissioned a Shadhinata class guided missile corvette, which is regarded as one of the most advanced warships to be exported by China to any foreign navy.
The BNS Sangram, which is the fourth in its class, is armed with long range anti-ship missiles and anti-air warfare weapons. The Shadhinata class itself is based on the Jiangdao or Type 056 corvettes, which are in wide deployment by the PLAN. Each corvette costed the Bangladesh Navy over $100 million each whereas if a warship with the same specifications were to be purchased from a Western country it could cost at least $300 million per unit.
The Bangladesh Navy is satisfied with the improved quality of Chinese shipbuilders. Some Bangladesh Navy owned shipyards have extensive shipbuilding cooperation with their Chinese counterparts.
Chinese companies have transferred technology, material and design packages to the Bangladesh Navy owned shipyards for construction of anti-submarine warfare vessels, patrol craft and other types of specialised auxiliary vessels.
A programme to build six guided missile frigates in Bangladesh is pending with strong interest shown by at least two Chinese warship builders.