Becoming optionless the Pakistan Army is seeking to purchase Z-10ME from China to replace its aged AH-1F attack helicopter fleet after the deal for 12 US-built AH-1Z and 30 Turkish-made T-129B attack helicopters fell through as a result of diplomatic upheavals between Islamabad and Washington amongst other complexities.
Similarly Washington has also placed sanctions on the supply of US engines besides other military technologies to Turkey effectively ending Turkey’s attempts to supply the T-129 to Pakistan and other countries.
The Bangladesh Army too was interested to purchase the T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey. A formal discussion on the subject was held between the military top brass and government officials in Bangladesh to begin the process of adding attack helicopters to the Army aviation’s fleet.
The Bangladesh Air Force is purchasing Boeing AH-64E attack helicopters for the first time from the United States under a Government to Government (G2G) agreement without any tender. The program will be the first of many ongoing defence acquisitions made by the Bangladesh armed forces from the Americans to establish strong defence cooperation between the two countries and enhance the capabilities of the Bangladesh military.
Washington has been nudging Dhaka to purchase American made defence hardware since last year seeing opportunity in Bangladesh’s spectacular economic growth over the past decade.
Bangladesh and United States forces have also stepped up military training exercises to improve interoperability particularly in relation to security of the Indian Ocean region. The two countries share views on combating terrorism, maritime piracy, post-disaster management and enhancement of bilateral military training schemes. With the tactic support of New Delhi the Americans have quietly ditched Pakistan and cosied up to Bangladesh as an alternative strategic partner. Moreover it is a country that has very strong ties to India.