Bangladesh-France defence trade to continue despite anti-Islam rhetoric

Bangladesh-France defence trade to continue despite anti-Islam rhetoric

The Bangladesh government sources have indicated relations with France will not be impacted negatively despite the ongoing anti-Islamic atmosphere in France.

Officials stated they are continuously evaluating the situation based on the interests of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and France have built stronger relations in recent years with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visiting France, followed by visits from the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force as well as the French Defence Minister in 2020 to Dhaka.

France’s Thales-Alenia group successfully built and launched Bangladesh’s first space satellite – the Bangabandhu Satellite-1. Arianespace confirmed its intention to finance, build and launch Bangladesh’s second satellite in to space.

France’s Thales group also delivered critical electronic warfare equipment to the Bangladesh Army recently. The same company sold secure frequency hopping radio communications equipment to the Bangladesh Army.

Renault Defence has supplied hundreds of trucks to the Bangladesh Army including those for troop transport, artillery tractor and logistics support.

Representatives from Dassault Aviation also visited Bangladesh to offer their products. This was reaffirmed by the French Defence Minister, who offered the latest generation Rafale fighters to the Bangladesh Air Force as well as unmanned aerial systems.

Some French shipbuilders have also indicated their interest to work with Bangladesh Navy for building frigates and corvettes in Bangladesh.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) is also finalising a contract to Thales group for modernising the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIAs) air traffic control system, including radar systems valued at $100 million through a G2G deal between Bangladesh and France.

It is unlikely that Bangladesh will take any major steps against France proactively as Bangladesh also needs France’s support to coordinate the international community’s efforts in repatriating the Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar.

Bangladesh has increased security at the French Embassy in Dhaka, the French International School of Dhaka and Alliance Francaise.

France has advised its citizens to exercise caution in several mostly Muslim majority countries over the backlash for the recent caricatures targeting Prophet Muhammad.

Muslim groups in Bangladesh have urged Bangladeshis to boycott French products.

Many other Muslim countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have condemned France’s reckless actions targeting Islam and Muslims.

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