Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) became the first Indian shipbuilder to receive a Bangladesh government contract for building six patrol boats.
The contract was signed on 1 July 2021 between the Bangladesh Government and GRSE to supply 13 m surveillance patrol boats intended for the Marine Fisheries Surveillance Check-Post.
Valued at $1.82 million the small patrol boats are to be used for surveillance activities in shallow waters, patrolling fishing grounds in day and night, as well as conduct SAR operations.
Each boat is equipped with a water jet drive suitable for shallow water operations of 0.60 metres.
In the past the Kolkata-based shipyard attempted to obtain contracts from the Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard, however in both cases the company did not obtain any success.
Moreover Bangladesh has not awarded any defence contracts to any Indian company for supply of major defence hardware.
Tata Motors was awarded a contract for supplying 300 Hexa SUVs used for general services in the Bangladesh Army as part of a $500 million ‘defence credit’ package offered by India to the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The restrictive tender ensured only Indian companies participate in the tender allowing Tata Motors to easily win the uncompetitive tender.
India also supplied 18 120 mm mortars to the Bangladesh Army free of cost. Those mortars were not pressed in to service as they are not standardised. Some are to be used for training at the Artillery Training School & Centre at Chattogram, whilst others will be stored.
Indian agents have also setup a small office at Gulshan in an attempt to market the French-made Dassault Rafale MRCA to the Bangladesh Air Force without success.
Indian defence equipment manufacturers are attempting to use small contracts with Bangladeshi government ministries to build rapport with the Bangladesh Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces in an attempt to gain larger contracts.
There are several Bangladesh Navy-owned shipyards and privately owned shipyards in Bangladesh perfectly capable of building and supplying the Bangladesh Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces with patrol boats and other types of vessels. Those shipyards will be prioritised with respect to commercial and national security interests.