The US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun arrived in Bangladesh on 14 October 2020. He held a series of meetings with high level officials of the country including the State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister.
On defence related aspect the Bangladesh Foreign Minister said “they want to sell equipment but Bangladesh will be very reluctant about that end as Bangladesh is a friendly country.”
Bangladesh is treading a fine line with in regards to expanding defence relations with the US because it has to balance it with China. This is why such statements are repeated all the while Bangladesh military steadily increases defence purchase from the US.
The Bangladesh Army is purchasing hundreds of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) from the US, which will be used mostly for UN Peacekeeping operations.
The US Army also recently released a RFI for Wasp AE UAS for the Bangladesh Army indicating deeper cooperation between the two countries given no other developing countries armed forces operate the Wasp AE UAS yet.
Other equipment such as submachine guns, frequency hopping radios, sniper rifles, machine guns and ammunition are being procured from US manufacturers.
Big ticket items such as the AH-64E Apache attack helicopters have also been approved for procurement by the Bangladesh Air Force from Boeing in the FY2020-21 procurement plans.
The Bangladesh Air Force may also seek C-130J transport aircraft whilst the Navy will be interested to purchase the MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters from Sikorsky.
The purchases are indicative of Bangladesh’s policy of not being over reliant on any particular country to meet its defence equipment needs.
Bangladesh is expected to sign the GSOMIA and ACSA defence agreements with the United States in the coming days to enable the Bangladesh Armed Forces more access to sophisticated US made armament technologies.