China has delivered two submarines to Bangladesh, christened 'Nabajatra' and 'Joyjatra'.
They were received by the chief of the Bangladesh Navy, Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed, in a shipyard in Dalian in the Liaoning province of China on 14 November.
Bangladesh has no maritime disputes with its neighbours. Its maritime boundary disputes with Myanmar and India were settled by the International Tribunal for the Land of the Seas in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
If these submarines were meant to deter to its potential enemies, then there are none today in the Bay of Bengal against whom Dhaka may potentially need to launch undersea warfare.
The submarines will have a crew of 57, can carry 18 torpedoes, with the option of carrying 57 mines. The eventual arrival of these submarines will bring in their wake Chinese trainers, infrastructure and repair experts.
These submarines will be docked in naval bases within as little as 500 nautical miles of Indian naval establishments. The Chinese are then expected to increase their tactical knowledge of Indian merchant as well as naval shipping.
These submarines will not be the only such platforms that Bangladesh is planning to acquire. There is talk of acquiring Russian Kilo class submarines as well.
India cannot match China either in terms of the infrastructural investments it is making in Bangladesh, nor does it have the capacity to replace China as the main defence supplier of Bangladesh.
But the basic questions are: why is Bangladesh acquiring submarines for undersea warfare from China? What does the presence of Chinese military personnel in Bangladeshi naval bases mean for India? And how can India counter the Chinese military influence in Bangladesh?
Watch India's former High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, answer these questions and more.
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