India to firm up defence ties with Bangladesh

Manohar Parrikar  

In the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Bangladesh in the last 45 years, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived here on a two-day visit to strengthen defence cooperation between the two neighbours.

An Indian Air Force plane carrying Mr. Parrikar and an 11-member high-powered delegation reached the Bangladesh Air Force Base in Kurmitola on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Parrikar is visiting Bangladesh to bolster defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in December, say diplomatic sources. He would discuss with the government leaders to firm up a proposed framework of bilateral defence cooperation deal, likely to be signed during Ms. Hasina’s visit.

Another key focus during Ms. Hasina’s visit would be to present awards and financial assistance to families of the Indian soldiers who were killed during the Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.

Mr. Parrikar and his entourage were greeted by Bangladesh Defence Forces’ Principal Staff Officer Lt-Gen. Mohammed Mahfuzur Rahman and top government officials.

To meet Hasina

An Inter-Service Public relation (ISPR) press release said Mr. Parikkar would meet Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and Ms. Hasina, who is also the Defence Minister. Besides, he and his team will meet the PM’s Security Adviser Major General Tarique Ahmed Sidique (retd) to discuss matters relating to bilateral issues.